Panel charged with improving nation’s health IT infrastructure set to meet

Originally published in Modern Healthcare

By Rachel Z. Arndt

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 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