GAO’s health IT advisory panel looks for founding members

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The Government Accountability Office is seeking nominations for the Health Information Technology Advisory Committee, a newly established 25-member panel that will recommend health IT infrastructure policies to federal officials.

In a document published to the Federal Register on Wednesday, GAO asked for nominations for the 14 positions that are to be filled by U.S. Comptroller General Gene Dodaro in July.

Applications are due by April 14 for appointments on the committee, which will consolidate and replace the existing HIT Policy and HIT Standards committees.

A final date for activities of the policy and standards committees has not yet been set, according to a spokesman for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

The HIT Advisory Committee was mandated under the 21st Century Cures Act of 2015 as a body to recommend policies and standards regarding health IT infrastructure to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

Meant to advance the electronic access of health information, the committee and its members must represent providers, health plans, IT developers, federal agencies and others with health care, system functions, privacy or security expertise, according to GAO.

Along with recommending policies for health IT infrastructure, the HIT Advisory Committee will also make recommendations for technologies that allow for protection against disclosures of identifiable health information as an attempt to dissuade reluctance of patients to seek care.

Working with the ONC, the committee will submit an annual report to the Health and Human Services secretary and Congress on progress made toward health IT providing electronic access, exchange and use of health information.

The committee requires at least 25 members, eight of which will be appointed by congressional leaders.

After the 14 positions filled by the U.S. comptroller general, the remaining three members will be appointed by the secretary of Health and Human Services and no fewer than two must be advocates for patients and consumers of health IT, according to the legislation that established the committee.

Terms of the HIT Advisory Committee are for three years, with a two-term limit.

In November, HHS released its 2017-20 IT strategic plan, which included plans for advancements in its IT workforce, cybersecurity and privacy, shared services, inoperability and usability, and IT management.

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Government Accountability Office (GAO), Health Information Technology Advisory Committee, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, ONC
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