ONC Chief DeSalvo Charts New Course

Posted on by Frank J. Rosello

Karen DeSalvo, MD, the national coordinator for health information technology, has proposed that ONC become “more forward-thinking.”

At an April 8 Health Information Policy Committee, which she chairs, she urged the panel to consider what needs to change.

DeSalvo suggested the ONC dissolve its current workgroups and form new ones, in an effort to make ONC’s work into a “less siloed approach.” She envisions consumer and privacy advocates participating across all the groups. The proposed workgroups are:

  • HIT strategic planning
  • Advanced health models and meaningful use
  • HIT implementation, usability and safety
  • Interoperability and health information exchange


“It’s important that we revamp the form and communication in the workgroups,” she added. “We want to avoid redundancy.”


DeSalvo said consumer engagement will be a big part of the focus in coming years.


The HIT Policy Committee members who commented at the meeting agreed with her ideas.


“I like this approach and structure of committees,” said David Lansky, CEO of the Pacific Business Group on Health. ”As we get past meaningful use, the goals will be more difficult. We’ll have to look at what our `customers’ – users of healthcare – think.”



ONC will need to go from planning from the inside out to including the ouside community, while keeping the integrity of what has already been built, Lansky said.


Paul Tang, vice-chair of the committee called DeSalvo’s plan “very valid and timely.”


“This is a nice step-back point,” Tang said. “Now that we’ve finished wrapping up our comments and advice on Stage 3, we will begin to look a lot toward how are we getting the value from meaningful use.”


DeSalvo said ONC plans to release a draft of its workplan revision for public comment in July.

Article written by Diana Manos,

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