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GAO Appoints 7 Members to Health IT Advisory Committee  

The new members of the Health IT Advisory Committee include experts in prescription drug monitoring data exchange and patient management of health data.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has announced the appointment of seven members to the Health Information Technology Advisory Committee (HITAC).

“HITAC is composed of individuals committed to improving the electronic access, exchange, and use of health information,” Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General and head of the GAO, said in a press release.

“Each year, many outstanding candidates express an interest in serving on the committee,” Dodaro added. “Today, I’m pleased to announce this latest round of appointments, who I am confident will make excellent contributions.”

The 21st Century Cures Act, enacted in December 2016, established HITAC and gave the Comptroller General responsibility for appointing at least 14 members. Additionally, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Majority and Minority leaders of the Senate, and the Speaker and Minority Leader of the House of Representatives are responsible for appointing 11 members.

The committee provides recommendations to the National Coordinator for health IT on policies, standards, implementation specifications, and certification criteria for implementing a health IT infrastructure that advances the electronic access, exchange, and use of health information.

The newly appointed members include:

  1. Kikelomo Belizaire, MD, MPH, MBA, chief medical officer at Pegasystems. Belizaire supports the company’s industry solutions for health systems, health plans, and life sciences organizations and is also a practicing hospitalist in the Charlotte, North Carolina area.
  2. Shila Blend, PhD, MS, health information technology director of the North Dakota Health Information Network. Blend also serves as a subject matter expert with the Rural Emergency Medical Services Counts project, which is working to develop quality measures for emergency medical services in rural areas.
  3. Hannah Galvin, MD, FAAP, FAMIA, chief medical information officer of Cambridge Health Alliance. Galvin is a pediatrician and leads the Division of Clinical Informatics at the public safety net health system. She also holds an assistant professorship through Tufts University School of Medicine.  
  4. Bryant Thomas Karras, MD, chief medical informatics officer and senior epidemiologist with the Washington State Department of Health. Karras has led various state efforts, including promoting the widespread adoption of health IT, early detection of disease outbreaks, patient immunization histories, prescription drug monitoring, and COVID-19 exposure notification.
  5. Anna McCollister, patient advocate, entrepreneur, and advisor on various health technology and healthcare quality initiatives. McCollister brings her experience as a patient with type 1 diabetes to each of these activities.
  6. Deven McGraw, JD, MPH, lead for data stewardship and data sharing at medical genetics company Invitae Corporation. She co-founded and was the Chief Regulatory Officer of Ciitizen, a health IT company acquired by Invitae that works to enable patients to collect, manage, and share their health information.
  7. Naresh Sundar Rajan, PhD, MS, chief data officer at CyncHealth (formerly known as the Nebraska Health Information Initiative). Rajan leads health information exchange and modernization initiatives. He also helps support the technical architecture for prescription drug monitoring data exchange through the Prescription Monitoring Information Exchange Standards Organization.

Each new member serves a three-year term, and GAO may reappoint them for a subsequent three-year period.

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