ONC wants you to comment on its updated strategic plan

The Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) of Health IT will be accepting public comments until April 22 on its new draft strategic plan for 2011-2015 that includes updated goals related to use of electronic health information, information exchanges, and privacy issues.

The HITECH Act requires ONC to update the plan, which was last published in 2008, to take into account the "rapidly changing landscape of health IT and health IT policy that has been drastically altered over the past years" by the HITECH Act and Affordable Care Act, said National Coordinator David Blumenthal, MD, in his blog describing the draft plan.

The Plan begins in 2011 -- the year when "medical care entered a new era -- the age of Meaningful Use" of certified electronic health record (EHR) technology to receive incentive payments under Medicare and Medicaid. While the Meaningful Use components of the updated plan may already be familiar, the plan also charts new ground for the federal health IT agenda, Blumenthal said. These goals include:

- Reviewing a health information exchange strategy that focuses on fostering business models to create health information and support exchanges in places where they are not taking place.

- Focusing on ways to improve privacy and security of health information, and to expand (through educational and outreach efforts) ways to increase provider and public understanding of electronic health information and related privacy and security rights under current law.

- Recognizing the importance of empowering individuals with access to their electronic health information through useful tools as a part of patient-centered care.

"We are only beginning to unlock the vast promise of electronic health information to improve decision making, help individuals better manage their health, and improve the health system's capacity for rapid learning," Blumenthal said.

 For more details:
- see the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan
- see Blumenthal's blog
- read Healthcare IT News article

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