HIT Standards Committee reorganization met with opposition

The Office of the National Coordinator plans to replace the Health IT Standards Committee's standing workgroup structure with targeted, time-limited task forces at the end of June. It's a move that doesn't sit well with some committee members.

In a meeting Wednesday, Jon White, M.D., acting deputy national coordinator, explained that the committee believes that targeted, time-limited task forces will be a better way to gain industry and public feedback, with the limited time commitments providing more expert participation and a wider range of perspectives, according to a blog post at Health IT Buzz.

The ONC looks to fill 10 positions on its Health IT Standards Committee, it announced earlier this year.

"This approach also provides task force members with clear and finite time commitments to study an issue with more specificity on the scope and nature of a task force's work," according to White.

Beginning in July, the committee will be asked to form a task force to take on specific topics on which ONC seeks advice.

However, a previous reorganization of the committee involved gaining its input, according to committee member Arien Malec of RelayHealth Clinical Solutions, according to an article at Healthcare Informatics.

"I don't feel it is respectful to announce a reorganization via a blog post," he's quoted as saying.

Stan Huff, M.D., chief medical informatics officer at Intermountain Healthcare, said he has experienced frustration that the work of the committee was narrowly focused without the ONC's vision of what the world should look like in five years.

In the article, ONC's Jodi Daniel asked for committee members' patience and support. "If we are really missing something, we can always re-evaluate and stand up a work group," she said.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center CIO John Halamka, the committee's vice chair, recently criticized in a blog post a provision of the 21st Century Cures Act that would result in the dissolution of the Health IT Standards Committee. He says the bill's suggestion to work with a charter organization backed by $10 million to develop interoperability standards doesn't make sense.

To learn more:
- read the blog post
- find the article