Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Some background on the ONC

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) was initially established in 2004 by Executive Order 13335. In February 2009, The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (Recovery Act) vastly expanded ONC’s role to support implementation of health information technology (health IT) nationwide through a variety of initiatives. As a result, ONC is required to initiate significant new programs and activities, such as
  • Enabling providers to adopt and meaningfully use health IT in concert with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services;
  • Providing grants to create regional extension centers, to enable technical assistance at the state level, and to expand and strengthen the health IT workforce;
  • Developing federal regulations related to electronic health information exchange; and
  • Implementing comprehensive communications and outreach programs to consumers, health care providers, and others stakeholders who will benefit from the advantages of health IT.

To meet these new responsibilities, ONC has been reorganized. The new structure will enable the office to develop and oversee programs and regulations and successfully accomplish the mandates of the Recovery Act.

Federal Register Notice: December 1, 2009
Organization, Functions, and Delegations of Authority; Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) is directed by the National Coordinator and is assisted by the Deputy National Coordinator for Operations, the Deputy National Coordinator for Programs & Policy, the Chief Scientist, the Chief Privacy Officer, and the Office of Economic Modeling and Analysis.


Within the Deputy National Coordinator for Operations are: the Office of Communications; the Office of Oversight; the Office of Mission Support; and, the Office of Strategic Initiatives.
Within the Deputy National Coordinator for Programs & Policy are: the Office of Policy and Planning; the Office of Standards and Interoperability; the Office of Provider Adoption Support; and, the Office of State and Community Programs.

The Office of the Deputy National Coordinator for Programs and Policy assumes functions previously performed by the Office of Health Information Technology Adoption, the Office of Interoperability and Standards, the Office of Adoption Provider Support, the Office of State and Community Programs, and the Office of Policy and Planning. The new office will lead ONC programs related to health information exchange, regional extension centers, training of the health IT workforce, and the development of technical standards for interoperability, security, and certification of health IT systems. The new office comprises:
  • The Office of Standards and Interoperability, with responsibility for standards, security, certification, the Nationwide Health Information Network, Federal Health Architecture and the CONNECT program;
  • The Office of Provider Adoption Support, which administers the Regional Extension Centers program and health IT workforce development;
  • The Office of State and Community Programs, which administers the state-level health information exchange program and the Beacon Communities Program; and
  • The Office of Policy and Planning, which is realigned to include all policy development, including privacy and security policy, and is liaison with legal affairs and legislative affairs, regulations development and externally focused strategic planning.
The Office of the Deputy National Coordinator for Operations is responsible for activities that are vital to supporting ONC’s numerous programs and enhancing ONC’s ability to communication about health IT. This office comprises:

  • The Office of Communications, which is responsible for stakeholder communications and constituency relations;
  • The Office of Mission Support, which supports day-to-day operations, including new grants processing, contracts management, budget execution and reporting, and human resources;
  • The Office of Oversight, which assures oversight of grants, internal and external performance reporting, and auditing; and
  • The Office of Strategic Initiatives to oversee internal strategic planning, special projects, and budget formulation.

The Office of Economic Analysis and Modeling will provide analyses to the National Coordinator, including advanced modeling of the U.S. health care system for simulating the micro- and macroeconomic effects of investing in health IT.

The Office of the Chief Scientist will be responsible for research and for identifying innovations in information technology that can be applied in health care settings, and which will be the ONC interface for international activities.

The Office of the Chief Privacy Officer, a position mandated by the Recovery Act, will advise on privacy, security, and data stewardship of electronic health information and coordinate ONC’s privacy and related efforts with similar privacy officers in other Federal agencies, State and regional agencies, and foreign countries.

via healthit.hhs.gov