ONC unveils summary of Tiger Team activity

The Health IT Policy Committee's Privacy and Security Tiger Team work group has made great progress in a relatively short period of time, making 160 recommendations to the Committee that have ended up in Meaningful Use and other regulations, additional technical assistance, program guidance and demonstration projects, according to Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT Chief Privacy Officer Joy Pritts.

Speaking at the work group's meeting Jan. 27, Pritts (right) presented the first annual summary of the Tiger Team's activities and accomplishments, although as the first ever summary, it included information from the Tiger Team's creation July 10, 2010, through Sept. 31, 2013, the end of the last fiscal year, she said.  

In that time period, the Tiger Team made 160 recommendations to the Committee, including 33 percent on security safeguards, 16 percent on individual choice and 14 percent on accountability. Of the 160 recommendations, the Committee adopted 154; the other six were withdrawn by the Tiger Team because ONC had already taken action on those topics, making the recommendations irrelevant.

ONC already has adopted more than 50 percent of the Tiger Team's recommendations, either solely or in part, Pritts said. The others are pending or in progress.

"When the Tiger Team makes recommendations and the Health IT Policy Committee adopts it, we listen," Pritts said. "A federal advisory committee is created for a purpose."

ONC created the summary in part to response to its own oversight bodies regarding how ONC prioritizes, and also to show the Tiger Team how much work has been done, Pritts said.

Deven McGraw, Co-Chair of the Tiger Team noted that it's "nice to know" that the recommendations are appreciated and "not going into a black hole."

Pritts said she intends to share the summary with the full Health IT Policy Committee at its next meeting Feb. 4.

The Tiger Team also addressed the issue of allowing patients' personal representatives and others access to a patient's electronic records, and how this may affect Meaningful Use Stage 2's view/download/transmit capability. Some of the issues include whether differentiated levels of access are needed for friends and family, patient sharing of their user IDs and passwords, and if personal representatives should have their own credentials to access the patients' medical information.

McGraw noted that "there are a number of twists and turns even to adult access" and that it was still unknown whether there were lingering policy issues that need to be resolved or if it's more of a best practices issues "that others can learn from."  The Tiger Team made no recommendations on this particular topic, instead opting to obtain more information from members before the work group's February meeting.

To learn more:
- read the summary and other meeting materials