At long last, the Health Information Technology Advisory Committee will hold its first meeting, setting in motion a key requirement of the 21st Century Cures Act.
The new committee, established more than a year ago, is slated to gather on Jan. 18. Lawmakers tasked the group with advising the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology on how to build a national infrastructure that better supports using health information electronically.
"Given the lead time prior to the committee's first meeting, now more than a year after the signing of Cures, it may be challenging for the committee, the ONC, and the secretary of HHS to meet all of the legislative requirements," said Dr. Steven Lane, a member of the committee and clinical informatics director of privacy, information security and interoperability for Sutter Health. But he's optimistic that the group will successfully and positively guide federal health IT policy and regulations.
During the first meeting, the committee will discuss the Trusted Exchange Framework and the U.S. Core Data for Interoperability, according to an ONC spokesperson.
Earlier this month, the ONC released a draft framework and agreement for the agency's plans to tap a private-sector organization to advance interoperability among health information networks. "As we move forward to nationwide interoperability, there are large amounts of data that will be moving around under the Trust Framework and Common Agreement," said Genevieve Morris, principal deputy national coordinator for health IT, in a conference call. Achieving interoperability is a primary goal of the Cures Act.
"As it's currently written, I worry the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement is overly prescriptive in ways that might jeopardize sustainability and usability," said Sasha TerMaat, a director at Epic Systems Corp. and member of the IT advisory panel.
A complementary document, the U.S. Core Data for Interoperability, distinguishes the classes of data that are necessary for interoperability. The comment periods on the draft versions of both documents are currently open.
The committee—which replaces the Health IT Policy Committee and the Health IT Standards Committee—will eventually have at least 25 members, per the 21st Century Cures Act, named by HHS, congressional leaders, and the comptroller general. Only Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's nominations are still pending.
The current roster includes:
Michael Adcock - University of Mississippi Medical Center
Christina Caraballo - Get Real Health
Tina Esposito - Advocate Health Care
Cynthia Fisher - WaterRev
Brad Gescheider - PatientsLikeMe
Dr. Anil Jain - IBM Watson Health
John Kansky - Indiana Health Information Exchange
Dr. Kensaku Kawamoto - University of Utah Health
Dr. Steven Lane - Sutter Health
Dr. Leslie Lenert - Medical University of South Carolina
Arien Malec - RelayHealth
Denni McColm - Citizens Memorial Healthcare
Dr. Clem McDonald - National Library of Medicine
Dr. Brett Oliver - Baptist Health
Dr. Terrence O'Malley - Massachusetts General Hospital
Carolyn Petersen - Mayo Clinic
Raj Ratwani - MedStar Health
Steve Ready - Norton Healthcare
Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong - NantHealth
Sasha TerMaat - Epic Systems Corp.
Andrew Truscott - Accenture
Sheryl Turney - Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield
Dr. Robert Wah - DXC Technology
Denise Webb - Marshfield Clinic Health System