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Health IT Modernization February Tribal Consultation and Urban Confer: Enterprise Collaboration Group

by Mitchell Thornbrugh, Chief Information Officer, Office of Information Technology, Indian Health Service

The IHS Health Information Technology Modernization Program team hosted the first of four tribal consultations and urban confers for 2024 on February 8 via Zoom. The topic was “Enterprise Collaboration Group” and included a brief overview of the Health IT Modernization Program and an open forum for questions and feedback. To open in a good way, Dave Panana of the Zia Pueblo/Pueblo of Jemez delivered a message in his native language that set the tone for a respectful and collaborative discussion.

Division of Health Information Technology Modernization and Operations Director Jeanette Kompkoff presented on the Health IT Modernization Program history, current activities, and vision for future activities of the new enterprise Electronic Health Record solution. She announced that tribes and urban Indian organizations are encouraged to engage in the modernization strategy through focus groups that began with the “Kick-off Meeting" this week. Focus groups are open to all tribal and urban Indian organization partners and the topics will be health IT implementation, interoperability, and data management and analysis. Interested individuals can email for more information.

Chief Medical Information Officer Dr. Howard Hays provided governance updates on the ECG, a user-focused body that will review evidence-based practices and provide recommendations for the enterprise EHR solution’s design and configuration. Additionally, tribal and urban partners were provided the opportunity to ask questions regarding the Health IT Modernization Program.

Deputy Chief Information Officer Andrea Scott opened the floor for questions and feedback from partners. This part of the confer was full of robust conversations with our tribal and urban Indian organization partners from across the country.

Senior Organizational Change Manager Kimberly Shije announced that branding efforts for the new enterprise EHR solution are underway and intends to engage partners throughout the process. Branding will include choosing a name, color combinations, a slogan, focus words and imagery that represents Indian Country. As we move forward through this process, we invite partners to participate in the Partner Brand Survey to share ideas and artwork that will inspire elements for the new enterprise EHR solution brand. The Partner Brand Survey will be live in the upcoming months and announced via IHS social media channels and the Modernization Listserv.

Andrea Scott closed out the event emphasizing the importance of partnerships and shared appreciation to the attendees for their collaboration and feedback. She also recapped ways partners can engage with the Health IT Modernization Program, which are outlined below:

Register for 2024 Tribal Consultation and Urban Confers

With three more Health IT Modernization Program tribal consultation and urban confer events planned in 2024, we are committed to connecting and collaborating with partners through informative sessions and open forums. Register now using the links below:


Statement of Interest (SOI)

We invite our partners to complete a non-binding SOI to help understand which tribal and urban sites are interested in becoming part of the IHS’s enterprise EHR solution partnership. The SOI asks for limited details about those organizations, such as facility size, current EHR utilization, and point(s) of contact. The SOI may be submitted by email to and there is no deadline for submitting the form. Federal sites are not required to complete the SOI document.

Focus Groups

DHITMO leaders invite volunteers from IHS, tribes, and urban Indian organization entities to participate in one or more focus groups. Initial focus groups will cover the following topics:

  • Health IT Implementation
  • Interoperability
  • Data Management and Analytics

Focus groups are open to all interested participants, not just those who choose to implement the new enterprise EHR solution. Focus groups are expected to kick off in March 2024. Interested individuals are encouraged to volunteer to participate by emailing  

Connect with us!

  • Visit the website for more information about the IHS Health IT Modernization Program
  • Sign up to receive Director Tso’s Bi-Weekly Updates for Tribal and Urban Indian leaders
  • Sign up to receive Health IT Modernization Program email updates through the Listserv
  • Read IHS Blog posts on modernization
  • Follow IHS on Facebook, LinkedIn and X (formerly known as Twitter) to stay up to date on events, collaboration opportunities and general program updates


Overall, the February tribal consultation and urban confer was a successful event that highlighted the importance of partnering and collaborating throughout the life of the Health IT Modernization Program. As we move forward, let us continue to embrace change, work together, and build a strong future that ensures the best possible care for patients throughout Indian Country for generations to come.

Mitchell Thornbrugh, Chief Information Officer, Office of Information Technology, Indian Health Service
Mitchell Thornbrugh, an enrolled member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, is the chief information officer for the Indian Health Service. His responsibilities include advising senior IHS leadership on all aspects of information resource management and technology and ensuring IHS compliance with information technology laws, regulations, and policies.