News | June 02, 2008

Federal Government Creates Plan to Advance Health Information Technology

June 3, 2008 - The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), today released a comprehensive plan for advancing health information technology (HIT).

The plan will serve as a guide to coordinate the federal government’s HIT efforts, which seek to achieve nationwide implementation of an interoperable HIT infrastructure throughout both the public and private sector.

The ONC-Coordinated Federal Health IT Strategic Plan focuses efforts along two primary goals: patient-focused healthcare and population health. The first goal envisions a transformation to higher quality, more-cost efficient care, meeting patients’ needs, through electronic health information access and use. The second goal, related to population health, envisions the appropriate, authorized, and timely access and use of electronic health information to benefit public health, biomedical research, quality improvement, and emergency preparedness.

Objectives, strategies, and milestones have been established for each goal. They portray the totality of what must be done, in a coordinated manner distributed across the federal government to address privacy and security concerns, achieve an interoperable health IT architecture to ensure reliable data exchange, accelerate IT adoption, and foster collaborative governance.

The plan was developed by ONC, working in collaboration with 12 agencies and staff divisions within HHS, the Departments of Commerce, Defense, and Veterans Affairs, and the Federal Communications Commission. Two federal advisory bodies, the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics and the American Health Information Community, also informed some of the strategies and milestones that are cited in the plan.

“Significant work has been completed to date to advance the nationwide health IT agenda. The plan provides an extensive documentation of the work completed by ONC and other federal partners over the past five years,” said Dr. Robert Kolodner, national coordinator for health information technology. “It also establishes the next generation of HIT milestones to harness the power of information technology to help transform health and care in this country.”

For more information: www.hhs.gov/healthit

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