Feature | Information Technology | September 22, 2015

ONC Releases Final Federal Health IT Strategic Plan for 2015-2020

Blueprint focuses on person-centered health, transforming healthcare delivery and advancing medical research through enhanced IT infrastructure

ONC, Federal Health IT Strategic Plan 2015-2020, information technology, healthcare

September 22, 2015 — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), in collaboration with over 35 federal partners, released the updated Federal Health IT Strategic Plan 2015–2020 (Plan) September 21.

The final plan represents the collective strategy of federal offices that use or influence the use of health information technology (health IT). The aim is to improve the health IT infrastructure, help transform healthcare delivery, and improve individual and community health. The plan sets a blueprint for the federal partners to implement strategies that will support the nation’s continued development of a responsive and secure health IT and information use infrastructure.

The final plan reflects the input from more than 400 public comments, collaboration between federal contributors and recommendations from the Health IT Policy Committee. ONC leadership also heard from individuals, providers, community organizations, and entrepreneurs from across the United States during listening sessions held in 2014.

The strategic goals of the plan are to:

  • Advance person-centered health and self-management;
  • Transform healthcare delivery and community health;
  • Foster research, scientific knowledge and innovation; and
  • Enhance the United States health IT infrastructure.

Over the next five years, the plan’s federal partners will assess their individual and collective progress on efforts to use health IT to achieve plan goals, including progress on the HHS Delivery System Reform initiative.

“Health IT only achieves its full potential when it seamlessly supports individuals as they strive to take control of their own health,” said National Coordinator for Health IT Karen B. DeSalvo, M.D., M.P.H., M.Sc. “Implementing the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan over the next five years drives toward a public-private partnership to achieve interoperability and will help the nation achieve important health outcomes, while remaining flexible to the evolving nature of health care and technology.”

“Electronic health information and health IT is key to providing better, more coordinated care today and critical research, such as the Precision Medicine Initiative, which will provide the prevention strategies, diagnostics and treatments of tomorrow,” said Kathy Hudson, Ph.D., National Institutes of Health (NIH) deputy director for science, outreach and policy.

“Information technology plays a central role in helping hospitals and other healthcare providers reach the Triple Aim - a better patient experience, improved population health and reduced per capita costs,” said College said College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) Board of Trustees Chair Charles Christian and President and CEO Russell Branzell. “We applaud ONC for taking on the herculean task of coordinating federal health IT initiatives across 35 federal agencies and for reaching out to the healthcare community for input on the strategic plan.”

Christian and Branzell added, “While the strategic plan is a good step in that direction, CHIME also believes that we must attend to such issues as patient identification and development of functional electronic clinical quality measures. Finally, we are encouraged to see in the plan a recognition of the role privacy and security will play in advancing interoperability and greater adoption of health IT.”

Members of the Premier alliance also commended DeSalvo and ONC on the release of the strategic plan. “In particular, Premier strongly supports consumer access to health data in private, secure and meaningful ways through the use of apps and other tools that better enable achievement of health and wellness goals. Ultimately, we share the future vision of the ONC to enable applications to securely integrate and exchange information, including data in electronic health records, as well as health apps that consumers may use to access and share health data with providers,” said Balir Chiilds, Premier senior vice president of public affairs.

For more information: www.healthit.gov

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