ONC Blog – Federal Advisory Committee – Judy Sparrow

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All I can say is that it’s very cool that ONC now has a blog. This is probably right up there with when I found past HHS secretary Mike Leavitt’s blog. Ok, yes I am a complete blog nerd. At least I’m able to admit it up front.

Basically, Judy Sparrow has just done an introduction post where she talks about the Federal Advisory Committees and their role at ONC. She’s the ONC liason for these committees and so hopefully she’ll keep us updated on progress with these two very important committees. She also provides this explanation about the committees in her first ONC blog post:

“FACAs” get their name from the Federal Advisory Committee Act, which lays out the guidelines for such committees. FACAs are advisory and intended to provide external guidance to the government. Typically members of the group are not federal employees. They are also very open committees – meetings are held in public, information on the meetings is posted in the Federal Register, and all FACA records are readily available. At the very root of the FACA mandate is transparency and collaboration.

ONC has two FACAs – the HIT Policy Committee and the HIT Standards Committee. These committees were established to obtain outside advice or recommendations on key health information technology topics from leaders who represent various stakeholder groups.

I think we generally knew this, but it was nice to have a bit more background. This would have been really useful 6 or so months ago when these committees were a new thing (at least for me).

I hope that Judy is able to keep the blog up to date and that it won’t just turn into an announcement site. I hope Judy will provide real content about the process, timelines and perspectives of ONC. If she does that, then it will be really interesting and a great part of the EMR conversation which is already happening on blogs like this one.