HHS unveils new 2020-2025 Federal Health IT Strategic Plan

The document describes the government's hopes for how technology goals should be prioritized over the next five years – with an emphasis on patients' access to their health data.
By Mike Miliard
05:28 PM
HHS headquarters in Washington, DC

The final 2020-2025 Federal Health IT Strategic Plan released today  by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT is laser focused – unsurprisingly, given the goals of recent rulemakings – on ensuring Americans' easy access to their own electronic health information.

ONC worked with more than two dozen federal organizations and drew upon public comment for the plan (PDF), which is mandated by the 2009 HITECH Act.

The agencies that collaborated on 2020-2025 Federal Health IT Strategic Plan – Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health and others – regulate, purchase, develop, and use health information technology to help deliver care and improve patient health at the local, tribal, state, and national level.

The goal of the strategic plan – a draft of which was published in January – is to "serve as a roadmap for these initiatives and activities, and as a catalyst for complementary activities in the private sector," according to ONC.

"The plan has been instrumental in our own efforts to support high-quality healthcare for Service members, Veterans, and their families," said Lauren Thompson, director of federal and commercial interoperability for the Federal Electronic Health Record Modernization program office, in a statement.

"We use it as a main reference point to develop the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs Interoperability Modernization Strategy, ensuring DOD and VA are supporting the common goals of the government's federal health IT strategy."

The most recent strategic plan was released in 2015 and pointed the way toward a new innovation in the post-EHR implementation era.

Now, the next five year plan looks toward continuing to improve "access, exchange and use" of health data across the ecosystem.

The key principles outlined in the plan include:

  • A focus on person-centered care,
  • Enabling value-based care by promoting improvements in care quality,
  • Creating a culture of secure access to health information,
  • Putting research into action,
  • Encouraging innovation and competition
  • Developing health IT policy through open, transparent and accountable processes

"The new federal health IT strategic plan continues the momentum created by the 21st Century Cures Act and reflects the federal government's commitment to making patients' electronic health information accessible on their smartphones," said Dr. Don Rucker, national coordinator for health IT.

"CMS appreciates the importance of this Federal Health IT Strategic Plan," said Seema Verma, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. "We value it as an example of our shared Federal vision to leverage health IT to reduce burden, promote the interoperable exchange of health information across the health care system, lower costs, and ultimately improve patient care."

Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
Email the writer: mike.miliard@himssmedia.com

Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS publication.

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