Patient advocate, former AMA president to co-chair ONC’s advisory committee

A stethoscope on a computer keyboard
ONC's health IT advisory committee will be co-chaired by Carolyn Peterson and Robert Wah, M.D. (Image: Getty/anyaberkut)

A longtime patient advocate and the former president of the American Medical Association will co-chair the Health Information Technology Advisory Committee (HITAC), which advises federal officials on health IT policy. 

Carolyn Peterson, who currently serves as the senior editor for Mayo Clinic’s health information website, has served in various patient advocacy roles since 2002, including the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute, the National Cancer Institute and the Food and Drug Administration. She will co-chair the new HITAC alongside Robert Wah, M.D., the global chief medical officer of DXC Technology who served as the president of the American Medical Association from 2014-2015.

Created under the 21st Century Cures Act, which consolidated two separate policy and standards advisory committees, HITAC kicked off its first meeting last month after Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., appointed the final two nominations to the 30-person roster that includes representatives from providers, payers, vendors and federal agencies.

The committee, which makes policy recommendations to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, has created two task forces focusing on evaluating the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement and the U.S. Core Data for Interoperability. In its initial meeting, ONC officials said they plan to release a proposed rule in April addressing data blocking and health IT certification and interoperability enhancements.