Monday, April 5, 2010

Paving the Path to Progress with a Roadmap for Health IT

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) is responsible for putting forward a vision for nationwide, interoperable health IT.  Our work requires that we also support the creation of a learning health system that is patient-centered and uses information to continuously improve health and health care of individuals and the population.  We have begun to get input for a detailed roadmap outlining goals, principles, objectives, strategies, and tactics toward this effort. This roadmap will pave the way to our vision and help keep us accountable.

The original Federal Health IT Strategic Plan was published in June 2008.  As part of the 2009 HITECH Act, included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the ONC is required to update the 2008 Strategic Plan.  The updated Federal Health IT Strategic Plan will outline objectives, milestones, and metrics related to health information exchange and associated privacy and security protections, electronic health record utilization, and will address the needs of underserved populations to reduce health disparities.  It will primarily address the time period of 2011 through 2015 but also will lay the groundwork for continued innovation and progress beyond 2015. 

The strategic planning process will require your insights and experience.  We want the process to be highly participatory, with broad involvement across the health care sector, and opportunities for public input and discussion.  To this end, the HIT Policy Committee’s Strategic Plan Workgroup is tasked with developing for the Policy Committee the Health IT Strategic Framework to inform the strategic planning process and providing a vehicle for public and private input.

The Framework will include recommendations for the Committee for updates to the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan.  The current draft Framework organizes key strategies into four themes: meaningful use of health IT; policy and technical infrastructure; privacy and security; and learning health systems.  For each theme there is a goal, principles, objectives, and strategies. Ultimately, the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan will go two steps further by outlining specific tactics and measures per theme.

Last week, the ONC posted a draft of the HIT Policy Committee Strategic Plan Workgroup’s Health IT Strategic Framework for public review. Comments can be provided via the FACA Blog and via a public listening session, scheduled for April 6, 2010. Registration is required and complete details are available at

I encourage you to review the draft Framework and offer your feedback.  The HIT Policy Committee and the ONC staff will carefully review comments and consider how to incorporate public input into the Strategic Framework and ultimately into the Plan update. Please join us in developing a dynamic strategic plan to pave our road to progress.

David Blumenthal, M.D., M.P.P.

National Coordinator for Health Information Technology

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) encourages you to share this information as we work together to enhance the quality, safety and value of care and the health of all Americans through the use of electronic health records and health information technology.
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