A Federal advisory committee is any committee, board, commission, council, panel, task force, or other similar group that advises or recommends to the agency it is charged. The Federal Advisory Committee Act was enacted in 1972 to govern the behavior of these advisory committees. In 2005 the ONC formed its first advisory committee, the American Health Information Community. The committee met and formed the first workgroups, Biosurveillance, Consumer Empowerment, Chronic Care, and Electronic Health Records. Once the HITECH Act became law, the ONC continued to build and revise the previous Strategic Plan and the information acquired from the American Health Information Community. The committee was then replaced with the two current committees, Health IT Policy Committee and the Health IT Standards Committee (HITSC). Along with the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics (NCVHS), these 3 committees advise and recommend the ONC to meet the HITECH Act mandates.
HITSC has formed a new workgroup, the Consumer Technology Workgroup (CTWG). HITSC is a Federal Advisory committee charged with making recommendations to the National Coordinator on standards, implementation specifications, and certification criteria for the electronic exchange and use of health information for purposes of adoption, consistent with the implementation of the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan, and in accordance by the HIT Policy Committee.
The CTWG is charged with providing recommendations on standards and interoperability issues and opportunities related to strengthening the ability of consumers, patients, and lay caregivers to manage health and health care for themselves or others. The workgroup will be chaired by Leslie Kelly Hall; Adjunct Professor at Northwestern Nazarene University, Senior Vice President at Healthwise, and a member of the HITSC. The workgroup should begin meeting in March. I have been asked to serve on this new workgroup and look forward to the opportunity.