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ONC releases federal strategic plan for health IT

The passage of the Affordable Care Act and the increasing amount of professionals and hospitals receiving payments from EHR incentives had significant influence on the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan 2015-2020.  The plan — recently released by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) — indicates the federal government will continue to work for more widespread adoption of health IT.  It’s based on the progress health IT has made in last few years and points in the direction the industry should be heading.

“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,” said National Coordinator for Health IT, Karen DeSalvo, M.D., in a release announcing the plan.

Recently, there have been federal efforts to increase IT adoption, stimulate the exchange of electronic data and encourage innovation in mobile health applications. Those initiatives and new technology have changed the healthcare landscape since the last strategic plan — covering the goals for 2011 through 2015 — was released.

The advances made in last five years have shaped the new goals, strategies and objectives of the 2015-2020 plan, which was put together by 35 federal departments and agencies.

The plan outlines five main goals:

  • Expand the adoption of health IT, by advancing secure national communication infrastructure
  • Promote the advancement of secure and interoperable health information by improving technical standards for secure and interoperable health information that protects patient privacy
  • Strengthen the delivery of healthcare
  • Promote better public health by aiding in the well-being of individuals and communities
  • Advance research and innovation by increasing the usability of electronic health information.

ONC is accepting public comments on the plan through Feb. 6, 2015. The final version of the plan will be released later in 2015.

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