In today’s digital world, patients’ right to control their health must include the right to access and control their health information. – Donald W. Rucker, M.D., National Coordinator for Health Information Technology
The Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology has released (PDF) the 2020-2025 Federal Health IT Strategic Plan, which is open for public comment. The ONC collaborated with over 25 federal organizations involved in health IT, and conducted research and examined recommendations from its Health IT Advisory Committee before publishing the draft version. Following public comments, the ONC, in collaboration with federal partners, will analyze the comments received and publish a final version of the Plan.
U.S. health care spending grew 4.6 percent in 2018, reaching $3.6 trillion or $11,172 per person. And as pressure continues to mount to improve outcomes and decrease costs, a digital platform presents greater versatility to consolidate the best digital solutions. With the majority of healthcare providers and health systems employing Electronic Health Records (EHRs), a fully connected health system that empowers patients, caregivers, and healthcare providers to access, exchange, and use electronic health information is a necessity. Although electronic health records have been widely embraced by healthcare providers, the information captured in EHRs is often inaccessible to patients.
Health IT is an integral component of healthcare delivery in the U.S. and is used in a variety of ways to help deliver care and improve health outcomes. The ONC draft sets clear goals and objectives for federal health IT efforts to ensure patients have access to their electronic health information.
What are the goals of the plan?
This plan is intentionally outcomes-driven, with goals directed at meeting the needs of individuals, caregivers, healthcare providers, payers, researchers, developers, and innovators. The strategic framework includes four overarching goals, each of which incorporates specific objectives.
With the new five-year strategic plan, federal partners will continue to play a role in assuring that patients get access to their electronic health information and have the full transparency that they need to shop for care. This draft plan aligns with the upcoming interoperability and affected person access guidelines, anticipated from ONC and the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Providers soon. A digital transformation, methodology begins at the highest level with the culture of the organization.
Health IT is used every day to improve the quality of care and patient outcomes. Accomplishing the objectives of reduced costs, better outcomes, and greater satisfaction challenges healthcare organizations to take a realistic approach to their technology, process investments, and tools. Patient access to their health data is vital. From mobile apps to automation and machine learning—the future of healthcare is encouraging.
Submit your feedback
ONC encourages review and comments on the draft plan. Comments can be submitted electronically on the HealthIT.gov website and can be found here. The public comment period on the draft plan ends on March 18, 2020, at 11:59:59 PM EST.
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) is at the forefront of the administration’s health IT efforts and is a resource to the entire health system to support the adoption of health information technology and the promotion of nationwide health information exchange to improve health care. ONC is organizationally located within the Office of the Secretary for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
ONC is the principal federal entity charged with coordination of nationwide efforts to implement and use the most advanced health information technology and the electronic exchange of health information. The position of National Coordinator was created in 2004, through an Executive Order, and legislatively mandated in the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) of 2009.