ONC unveils draft Federal Health IT Strategic Plan

The 2020-2025 plan aligns with the 21st Century Cures Act's interoperability and patient access provisions.
By Mike Miliard
11:53 AM

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has published the draft 2020-2025 Federal Health IT Strategic Plan, developed for HHS by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, and is making it available for public comment until March 18.

The draft lays out goals and objectives for federal health IT efforts to ensure patients have access to their electronic health information.

The final 2020-2025 plan will serve as a roadmap for federal agencies and drive private sector alignment,  officials say. Agencies will use it to allocate resources, coordinate health IT efforts across agencies, signal priorities to the private sector and benchmark progress over time.

Tthe strategic plan explains how the U.S. government will use technology to:

  1. Promote health and wellness;
  2. Enhance the delivery and experience of care;
  3. Build a secure, data-driven culture to accelerate research and innovation; and
  4. Connect healthcare and health data through an interoperable health IT infrastructure.

HHS emphasizes that patients' right to access and control of their health information is a key component of their right to control their health.

While the majority of healthcare providers now use EHRs, the data that's in them often remains inaccessible to patients, caregivers and healthcare providers across different settings.

The new-five year strategic plan aligns with the forthcoming interoperability and patient access rules, expected from ONC and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in the coming weeks.

"The Federal Health IT Strategic Plan represents the work being done, collectively and individually, to help ensure that patients and their providers can electronically access the health information they need to help them manage their care," said Lauren Thompson, Interoperability Director for the Federal Electronic Health Record Modernization Program Office.

"The draft federal strategic plan supports the provisions in the 21st Century Cures Act that will help to bring electronic health information into the hands of patients through smartphone applications," said Don Rucker, M.D. "We look forward to public comment to help guide the federal government's strategy to have a more connected health system that better serves patients."

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

Healthcare IT News is a publication of HIMSS Media.

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