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National Council of Informatics – Charter

Public Health Service
Indian Health Service
Rockville, Maryland 20857

Refer to:OIT



  1. PURPOSE. The National Council of Informatics (NCI) works to improve delivery of health care services for American Indian and Alaska Native people by identifying, defining, prioritizing, and advocating for the information resources management and technology needs of health care providers in Indian Health Federal, Tribal and Urban (I/T/U) facilities.
  2. AUTHORITY. The NCI functions under the guidance and authority of the Indian Health Service (IHS) Chief Health Informatics Officer (CHIO). The NCI will interact with a wide variety of groups and committees in accomplishing its functions, as necessary. These include but are not limited to the IHS National Council(s), Professional Specialty Groups of other disciplines, Information Systems Advisory Council (ISAC), Information Systems Coordinators (ISCs), IHS Developers/Programmers, and I/T/U programs. The NCI will be a member of the National Combined Councils with a focus on Clinical Informatics.
  3. MEMBERSHIP. The NCI is a permanent council of the IHS. Membership is flexible and represents end-users of the Indian Health System. After formation, the NCI will determine the number of members needed to fulfill its responsibilities, reviewing membership at least every two years to ensure appropriate representation. Initial voting members will be solicited from IHS Areas that use the IHS Electronic Health System [e.g., Resource and Patient Management System (RPMS)]. Input will be sought from I/T/U Stakeholders. Once formed, the NCI will determine Ad Hoc (non-voting) membership needs.

    1. Voting Membership will be as follows and includes the Executive Committee:
      1. One Area Informaticist representative from each of twelve Area Offices or their designee; and
      2. One Field Representative for each of twelve Areas from facility staff.
    2. Area Field Representative Nominations. Field representatives will be nominated by the Area Informaticists (after supervisor approval). Final approval will be by the Area Director, NCI, CHIO, and Headquarters Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Chief Medical Officer (CMO). Each voting member is allowed one vote. In case of a tie, the Chairperson has an additional vote.
    3. Executive Committee includes the following Officers:
      1. Chairperson,
      2. Vice Chairperson, and
      3. Secretary.

      A Chairperson will be selected from among the membership, along with one Vice Chairperson and one Secretary. Other officers will be selected as needed to meet the requirements of the Council. Officers serve two-year terms, but may hold consecutive terms. Elections are by a simple majority vote.

      Vacancies in the Executive Committee (EC) will be filled by the EC calling for nominations and vote for another member to fill the vacant office throughout the remainder of the unexpired term. It is the responsibility of the highest ranking EC Officer remaining to call for nominations and oversee a vote for replacement within sixty days of a vacated position.

    4. Participation. Members are expected to attend meetings either in person or virtually. At the discretion of the Chairperson, any member missing two or more meetings per year will be reviewed for replacement. More than two unexcused absences may lead to dismissal from the NCI council. When absent, members are expected to have a proxy as a replacement.
    5. Membership comprises both Area Office and Field Representatives. Roles and disciplines may include, but are not limited to:
      1. Pharmacy,
      2. Health Information Management,
      3. Nursing,
      4. Medical Staff,
      5. Outpatient Department Staff,
      6. Inpatient Department Staff,
      7. Practice Management,
      8. Lab,
      9. Business Office,
      10. Dental,
      11. Security,
      12. Informatics,
      13. Behavioral Health, and
      14. Allied Health Professionals.

      Clinical Priorities should include Inpatient, Outpatient, Type of Care, Type of Discipline, and Accreditation.

    6. Ad Hoc Membership. Ad Hoc Members will not have voting rights, but will be added as needed to provide additional information. Ad Hoc Membership will include other Professional Specialty Groups including other Clinical Informaticists, and facilities using non-RPMS electronic health records. Standing Ad Hoc Membership will be determined as needed.

    1. Chairperson. At the end of the two-year term for the NCI Chairperson, the Vice-Chairperson shall assume the role of NCI Chairperson for a two-year term.
    2. Vice-Chairperson. At the end of the two-year term of the Vice-Chairperson, the Chairperson shall request nominations, from current NCI members, for replacements of that position. The Vice-Chairperson will be elected by a simple majority of NCI members for a two-year term.
    3. Secretary. The Chairperson shall request nominations, from current NCI members, for the Secretary. The Secretary will be elected by a simple majority of NCI members for a two-year term.
    4. Area Informaticists. When a vacancy in Area Informaticist membership occurs, the Acting Area Informaticist will serve as member. In lieu of an Acting Area Informaticist, the Area Director may submit a recommendation for an Area representative.

      Note: An Area vacancy occurs when the Area Informaticist position is empty for any reason, the position is considered vacant. It is up to the Area Director to select an "acting" Informaticist until the position is filled.

    5. Field Representatives. When a vacancy in Field Representative membership occurs, the Area Informaticist shall submit a recommendation for a Field Representative with approval of the Area Director.
  5. RESPONSIBILITIES. The primary responsibility of the NCI is to determine and evaluate, from the perspective of practicing clinicians and end-users, the information management and technology requirements needed to provide safe, efficient, economical, and effective health care, and to provide expertise and support for similar efforts by other non-clinician groups.

    1. National Council of Informatics.
      1. Represents the clinical informatics concerns of I/T/U programs and serves as a conduit to the ISAC and the Office of Information Technology (OIT) by:
        1. Seeking input from health care providers/clinical groups at the local and regional level;
        2. Sharing information with health care providers/clinical groups at the local and regional level; and
        3. Communicating issues, concerns, and priorities of health care providers regarding technology and information management to the ISAC, OIT, and IHS Headquarters CMO.
      2. Identifies Information Technology requirements and services essential to the provision of safe, economical, and effective patient services.
      3. Develops short and long term health care information system goals in consultation with OIT.
      4. Prioritizes health information management system needs from a clinical perspective.
      5. Identifies functional requirements for the development or modification of health care information systems.
      6. Serves as the primary representative for Areas as subject matter experts to collaborate with OIT on enhancement requests from a clinical perspective as part of a change control board. This will include setting priorities and identifying best practice approaches for technical developments in collaboration with the RPMS Program Management Office.

        Note: Change control and enhancement request tracking will be maintained by OIT.

      7. Collaborates to develop and review appropriate training, user manuals and tools.
      8. Responds to requests for information from sources such as National Councils, ISAC, Clinical Informaticists, ISCs, and I/T/U programs.
    2. Chairperson. It is the Chairperson's responsibility to:
      1. Preside over all meetings and conference calls;
      2. Establish and activate Ad Hoc subgroups to research, take action, and report on specific NCI Committee concerns;
      3. Coordinate tasks and reports among workgroups;
      4. Develop and present position statements and recommendations to the CHIO, ISAC and other groups as requested;
      5. Represent the position(s) of the NCI at IHS Leadership meetings or other meetings, as required;
      6. Coordinate tasks and reports among members of the NCI Committee;
      7. Assign and coordinate the draft of reports, position statements and to represent the NCI as requested by the CHIO, OIT, ISAC, or others; and
      8. Serve in any capacity as requested by CHIO.
    3. Vice-Chairperson. It is the NCI Vice-Chairperson's responsibility to:
      1. Assume the duties of the NCI Chairperson in the event of his or her absence; and
      2. Serve in any capacity as requested by the CHIO or the NCI Chairperson.
    4. Secretary. It is the NCI Secretary’s responsibility to:
      1. Coordinate the preparation of monthly meeting agendas, meeting minutes and communicate information to CHIO; and
      2. Serve in any capacity as requested by the CHIO, the NCI Chairperson, or the Vice-Chairperson (when assuming the role of Chairperson).
    5. Members.
      1. Represent the informatics concerns of I/T/U programs and serve as a conduit to other groups by:
        1. Seeking input from Informaticists at the service unit and Area level;
        2. Sharing information with Informaticists at the service unit and Area level;
        3. Communicating issues, concerns and priorities of Informaticists; and
        4. Identifying information technology and services essential to informatics.
      2. Develop short and long term goals for future health information technology tools.
      3. Review and endorse health information technology integration within RPMS Electronic Health Record (EHR).
      4. Identify requirements for the development or modification of health information technology within RPMS EHR.
      5. Collaborate to develop and review appropriate training, user manuals and tools.
      6. Endorse Alpha and Beta testing of new software releases.
      7. Respond to requests for information from sources such as the CIO, CHIO, ISAC, I/T/U/ programs, and others.
  6. VOTES.

    1. Quorum. A quorum of 50% of voting membership will be required to conduct business.
    2. Vote on Motions. A simple majority of votes will determine the acceptance or rejection of a given motion. In the event of a tie vote, the NCI Chairperson will cast a vote for the motion to proceed or not proceed.

    1. The NCI Chairperson will serve as the formal council representative to the IHS Director and CHIO, and communicate concerns and recommendations as directed by the NCI EC.
    2. The NCI communicates with CHIO, I/T/U end-users, other councils, the ISAC, the Division of Information Technology Staff, the OIT, and others in writing or by conference calls.
    3. The NCI associates with other established I/T/U Indian Health Program entities and groups. The NCI may be asked to participate with other councils, I/TU Indian Health Program boards, Headquarters Offices, or workgroups as needed to fulfill NCI obligations.

    1. Scheduled Meetings. NCI will meet once per month. Depending on the availability of funds, it is anticipated that the NCI will convene at least one face-to-face meeting each year. In order to get business accomplished, the NCI may establish standing or Ad Hoc committees as necessary. The council will also seek to involve and equip champions from throughout the IHS on any issue.
    2. Meeting Minutes. The meeting minutes will be developed by the NCI Secretary and distributed within 30 days of the meeting or call. First item of business for all meetings will be to review and approve the last meeting minutes. Minutes should be available electronically for review and comment by any Informaticist within the IHS.
    3. Additional Meetings. Additional meetings will be scheduled if the need arises or as requested by the CHIO, the RPMS Program Manager/Investment Manager, or the NCI Chairperson.
    The Chairperson of the NCI shall appoint Ad Hoc workgroups as needed to achieve the goals of the NCI.
    This IHS Circular is effective upon the date of signature.

/Michael D. Weahkee/
RADM Michael D. Weahkee, MBA, MHSA
Assistant Surgeon General, U.S. Public Health Service
Acting Director
Indian Health Service

Distribution:  IHS-wide
Date:  08/31/2018