Getting to know the ONC

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology(ONC) is the key to carrying out the HITECH Act and bring about EHR adoption along with national health information exchange. Dr. David Blumenthal is the appointed National Coordinator of the Office and reports to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebilius. The Office is tasked with promoting development of a nationwide HIT infrastructure, providing leadership in development, recognition, and implementation of standards and certification of HIT products, coordination of HIT policy, strategic planning for HIT adoption and HIE, and establishing governace for the Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN).

Two Federal Advisory Committees, the HIT Policy and the HIT Standards, were formed to advise and make recommendations to the ONC on policy framework, standards, implementation specifications, and certification criteria for the electronic exchange and use of health information. Their recommendations have laid the foundation and given us the final rules for stage 1 meaningful use, adopted standards, and a temporary certification criteria. The committees are now working on stage 2 and 3 of meaningful use. The committee’s meetings are open to the public and can be attended in person or on line. You can also get important updates on the FACA blog.

Blumenthal writes regular updates on the ONC site in his Coordinator’s Corner. Read his update on what they have accomplished in 2010. The official blog for the ONC is called the Health IT Buzz. There is at least a weekly post from someone in the ONC including Blumenthal.

Do you know any students looking for interships or jobs this summer? The ONC is looking for six talented individuals for their 2011 summer student program. Application deadline is February 18th.

And speaking of jobs, the ONC has done a great job in overhauling their website this year with a fresh look, logo, and keeping the content updated. Keep it bookmarked on your favorites list this coming year you will need it.

Here’s to a meaningful 2011.
Happy New Year!

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