ONC Releases the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan for the Next Six Years
ONC is now seeking input from the public and stakeholders on the government’s Strategic Plan through February 6, 2015
December 17, 2014 11:05 AM
Last week, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) released the Federal
Health IT Strategic Plan for 2015 – 2020. ONC is now seeing public comment until February 6, 2015. A collection of 35-plus federal departments and agencies collaborated to develop the draft Strategic Plan, identifying key federal health IT priorities for the next six years. The landscape has dramatically changed since the last federal Health IT Strategy plan was drafted. When the previous plan was released, the HITECH Act implementation, which did not include home care providers, was in its infancy. Since that time, there has been remarkable growth in health IT adoption. Additionally, the Affordable Care Act implementation has begun to shift care delivery and reimbursement away from fee-for-service care.
Dr. Karen DeSalvo, the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, states in the Strategic Plan’s Introduction that:
“With this updated Plan, the federal government signals that, while we will continue to work towards more widespread adoption of health IT, efforts will begin to include new sources of information and ways to disseminate knowledge quickly, securely, and efficiently. The first two goals of this Plan prioritize increasing the electronic collection and sharing of health information while protecting individual privacy. The final three goals focus on federal efforts to create an environment where interoperable information is used by health care providers, public health entities, researchers, and individuals to improve health, health care, and reduce costs.
This Plan aims to remain flexible to our evolving definitions of health and health care. We recognize that both traditional and nontraditional sources will engender valuable health information. Expectations for our information systems and users of these systems will increase. During the information age, innovation and technological advancements have been difficult to predict. This Plan accounts for how the federal government views our nation’s current landscape and articulates our values and priorities in shaping tomorrow’s landscape.”
Prior to the Strategic Plan’s release, the Executive Director of NAHC’s affiliate Home Care Technology Association of America (HCTAA) asked Dr. DeSalvo about home care’s place in the future adoption and implementation of health IT outside of clinical and facility-based settings. In her answer, Dr. DeSalvo indicated that, “we need to connect all care in addition to connecting health beyond that. Long-term, post-acute care is a vital, critical part of the continuum.”
In advancing the adoption of health IT beyond clinical and facility settings, the new Strategic Plan does, broaden the definition of “health care provider” to be inclusive of:
“health care workers and service providers in all settings – including, for example, acute and ambulatory care, long-term services and supports, post-acute care, behavioral health, emergency medical services, home health, oral health, and end-stage renal disease dialysis facilities, pharmacies, laboratories, and public health entities.”
To read the full Strategic Plan, please click here.
To read more about the event where HCTAA asked Dr. DeSalvo about home care and hospice’s role in health IT adoption, please see NAHC Report, December 10, 2014.