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GAO Makes New Appointments to Health Information Technology Advisory Committee

WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 18, 2019) — Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States and head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), today announced three new appointments and four reappointments to the Health Information Technology (HIT) Advisory Committee.

“The HIT Advisory Committee brings together individuals with diverse backgrounds and expertise to help address health information technology challenges,” Dodaro said. “A number of highly qualified candidates sought to serve on the committee, and I’m very pleased to announce this latest round of appointments. Their perspectives should benefit the committee as it examines how technology can be used to improve health care for patients.”

One newly appointed member—Alexis Snyder—is being appointed to complete the remaining term for a vacancy on the committee and will serve for one year. The other newly-appointed members—James Pantelas and Abby Sears—are being appointed for three-year terms. All members may be reappointed for an additional three-year term. Current committee members being reappointed to a final second term are John Kansky, Brett Oliver, Raj Ratwani, and Denise Webb.

The 21st Century Cures Act, enacted in December 2016, established the HIT Advisory Committee and gave the Comptroller General responsibility for appointing most of its members. The committee makes recommendations to the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology in the Department of Health and Human Services on policies, standards, implementation specifications, and certification criteria relating to the implementation of a health information technology infrastructure that advances the electronic access, exchange, and use of health information.

Brief biographies of the new appointees are provided below:

James Pantelas serves on multiple boards and committees for health care and research organizations, providing his perspective as a patient and caregiver. A lung cancer survivor and disabled veteran, Mr. Pantelas is a retired information technology and human resources executive. Among other initiatives, he has contributed to hospitals’ efforts to improve patient- and family-centered care and has developed training to enhance patient and family member participation in medical research. Mr. Pantelas holds a degree from Oakland Community College.

Abby Sears, MBA, MHA, is President and Chief Executive Officer of OCHIN, a national nonprofit health information technology organization based in Portland, Oregon, that focuses on the needs of historically underserved communities across the country. She leads initiatives to help providers and patients use technology to improve health care outcomes. Under her leadership, OCHIN has built a network of clinical data to support scientific research and a platform to test and implement innovative health care solutions. Ms. Sears received her Master of Business Administration and Master of Healthcare Administration from the University of Minnesota.

Alexis Snyder is a patient family advisor and engagement specialist with experience identifying and resolving health information technology challenges as a patient, caregiver, and advocate. She works with health care systems and research organizations to help them engage with patients and family members and consider patients’ perspectives when planning and implementing health care and research programs. Ms. Snyder received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Sociology from Hofstra University, with a focus on disabilities and gerontology. 

For more information on the HIT Advisory Committee see their website ( For more information on the GAO appointments, please contact Chuck Young in GAO's Office of Public Affairs at (202) 512-4800, or visit the GAO Health Care Advisory Committees web page at


The Government Accountability Office, known as the investigative arm of Congress, is an independent, nonpartisan agency that exists to support Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities. GAO also works to improve the performance of the federal government and ensure its accountability to the American people. The agency examines the use of public funds; evaluates federal programs and policies; and provides analyses, recommendations, and other assistance to help Congress make informed oversight, policy, and funding decisions. GAO provides Congress with timely information that is objective, fact-based, nonideological, fair, and balanced. GAO’s commitment to good government is reflected in its core values of accountability, integrity, and reliability.

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