ONC Releases Final Version of Five-Year Health IT Strategic Plan

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT released the final Federal Health IT Strategic Plan for 2015 to 2020, which focuses on patient-centered data and care rather than implementing IT systems, Modern Healthcare reports (Conn, Modern Healthcare, 9/21).

Details of Strategic Plan

The strategic plan includes four overarching goals:

  1. Advance person-centered health and self-management;
  2. Transform health care delivery and community health;
  3. Foster research, scientific knowledge and innovation; and
  4. Enhance health IT infrastructure (Walsh, Clinical Innovation & Technology, 9/21).

According to Health Data Management, the plan differs significantly from the initial draft, which focused more on providers and electronic health record adoption (Slabodkin, Health Data Management, 9/22).

National Coordinator for Health IT Karen DeSalvo said, "As an administration, we're putting the person at the center of their own health data, as opposed to [EHRs] and health systems," adding "We're paying more attention to adoption across the care continuum" (Modern Healthcare, 9/21).

Specifically, the plan aims to leverage various health information-generating sources, including:

  • Self-generated information from individuals' mobile devices; and
  • Non-clinical information collected by communities (Health Data Management, 9/22).

According to Modern Healthcare, the strategic plan also aims to improve health IT availability and use among providers who were excluded from the meaningful use program.

Under the 2009 economic stimulus package, providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHRs can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.

Specifically, the plan aims to incorporate long-term care and behavioral health organizations, both of which were excluded from the incentive program, into the country's health IT infrastructure.

DeSalvo said that there will not be a new funding program to spur EHR adoption among such providers. Instead, ONC will leverage existing programs (Modern Healthcare, 9/21).

Reaction

Premier, a health care alliance of more than 100,000 providers, in a statement said it "strongly supports consumer access to health data in private, secure and meaningful ways through the use of apps and other tools that better enable achievement of health and wellness goals."

However, Premier said it is "critical" that ONC complete interoperability standards to help achieve such goals.

Meanwhile, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives in a statement said it supported the plan's goals, but it also emphasized the need for interoperability.

The group said, "We cannot achieve the promise of population health and other advances in patient care without the ability to fully and securely exchange data," noting, "This includes not just data between providers, but also establishing a framework for accepting the growth in patient-generated data" (Health Data Management, 9/22).

Meanwhile, the National Partnership for Women & Families in a release said it supported "the incorporation of person-centered health as a core goal" of the plan.

NPWF President Debra Ness, added, "We commend ONC for recognizing that patients, families and caregivers must be able to access, understand, use and share health information in order to achieve a healthcare system that delivers better care, better health and better value" (Clinical Innovation & Technology, 9/21).

Source: iHealthBeat, Tuesday, September 22, 2015
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