ONC updated HIT plan focuses on interoperability

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT's updated Federal Health IT Strategic Plan, released today and spanning from 2015 to 2020, will focus on the collection, use and sharing of interoperable health information.

The plan "serves as the broad federal strategy setting the context and framing the Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap that will be released in early 2015," according to an announcement from ONC.

In addition to interoperability, the plan focuses on patient-generated data.

"It's allowing individuals to become more partners in their care through the ability for personally generated health data, be that through Fitbits or the ability for them to send information to their providers, to be put into their electronic health record," Seth Pazinski, ONC's director of the Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Analysis, said during a media phone conference on the plan.

The plan outlines five federal health IT goals:

  1. Expanded adoption of health IT by increasing adoption and use of HIT systems and products, increasing user and market confidence in the safety of those products and advancing a national communications infrastructure to support care delivery
  2. Secure and interoperable health by enabling consumers and providers to send and receive electronic health information and to keep that information secure through technical standards
  3. Stronger healthcare delivery by improving healthcare access and experience and using technology to support high-value healthcare
  4. Improved well-being of individuals and communities by empowering consumers and their caregivers in health engagement and promoting public health
  5. Advanced research and innovation by increasing access to electronic health information and accelerated development of innovative technologies

For each of the five goals, the ONC has outline 3-year and 6-year outcomes with the specific agencies that will be involved in the development of the plans, Pazinski said.

National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo said during the call that, while there was some debate on what to focus on, with some players wanting to move faster on a learning health system and having more comprehensive data available, most understood the need to prioritize interoperability.

"There's a strong sense both in the federal government and the private sector that it's time for the data to move," she added.

The plan is open for public comment through Feb. 6 at 5 p.m. DeSalvo has touted in recent months the importance of feedback on the path to interoperability.

To learn more:
- check out the plan (.pdf)
- read the announcement
comment on the plan 

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