DeSalvo, Fridsma discuss 'evolution' of HIT standards committee

Members of the Health IT Standards Committee at a meeting in Washington, D.C., Thursday discussed a future that involves a shift at the top and other proposed changes, including more interaction with the Health IT Policy Committee.

At the meeting's outset, National Coordinator for Health IT Karen DeSalvo tapped Jacob Reider, ONC's current acting deputy coordinator, to replace outgoing committee chair Jonathan Perlin, chief medical officer at Nashville, Tenn.-based Hospital Corporation of America. Current committee vice chair John Halamka, CIO at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, will retain his role.

Doug Fridsma, chief science officer and director of the Office of Science & Technology at ONC, then talked about the committee's "evolution." According to a presentation delivered by Fridsma, the committee's workgroups would be downsized from nine to six. Current workgroups within the committee include: clinical operations; clinical quality, consumer/patient engagement power team; consumer technology; implementation; Nationwide Health Information Network power team; privacy & security; standards task force; and vocabulary task force.

The streamlined committee would include the following workgroups:

  • Steering committee
  • Vocabulary and information models
  • Document and data structure
  • Transport and security
  • Services and APIs
  • Certification and testing

Fridsma also talked about expanding the value of the portfolio of standards to support accountable care organizations, payment reform and systems acquisitions by the U.S. Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, among other administrative priorities. He said the portfolio needs to be modernized to include simpler and "more powerful" standards.

"We need to make sure that our standards portfolio stays fresh," he said. "The only standards that you don't update are standards not used."

Additionally, Fridsma discussed a future involving standards committee members identified participating in policy committee workgroups, and vice versa, stating that cross membership will ensure a continuity of efforts across the committees.

"We want there to be visibility and conversation between the Health IT Policy Committee and the Health IT Standards Committee," Fridsma said.

At the April 8 meeting of the Health IT Policy Committee, DeSalvo laid out plans for transitioning that committee's current workgroups into newer, less siloed workgroups.

"We are pivoting to readjust to our smaller budgets and perhaps, over time, changes to the structure of our agency," she said. "We need to be very thoughtful about what are the core expectations from the American people about what we should focus on and do."

To learn more:
- view Fridsma's presentation

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