ONC retools its workgroups

Drops number of offices from 17 to 10
By Government Health IT Staff
10:55 AM
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Karen DeSalvo, MD

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT continues to reshape itself as it adjusts to funding limits.

To that end, national coordinator Karen DeSalvo, MD, this week outlined a new working group structure for ONC’s Health IT Policy Committee.

DeSalvo last week detailed changes, saying the reorganization of the groups is “an interactive process, as we close out work and pick up new work,” she said, adding that ONC now has the opportunity to “sunset some workgroups and bundle the efforts of others.”

With the reorganization, there will be six working groups:

  1. Health IT Strategy and Innovation: David Lansky, chair. This group will be important this year, DeSalvo said, as the ONC develops its federal strategic plan and outlines strategic priorities.
  2. Advanced health models and Meaningful Use: Paul Tang, chair; Joe Kimura, co-chair. The group will focus on care model development, accountable care, social determinants and community- and population-level health.
  3. Health IT implementation, usability and safety: David Bates, chair; Larry Wolf, co-chair
  4. Interoperability and health information exchange: Mickey Tripathi, chair; Chris Lehmann, co-chair
  5. Privacy and security: Deven McGraw, chair
  6. Consumer perspective and engagement: Christine Bechtal, chair

In April, DeSalvo proposed changing the makeup of ONC's workgroups to tune ONC into a “less siloed approach.” She envisions consumer and privacy advocates participating across all the groups.

The realignment of the workgroups comes as ONC reduces its offices from 17 to 10, as funding dries up from $2 billion appropriated to the ONC by Congress in 2009 for health IT programs under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.