ONC releases HIT plan


WASHINGTON The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has released a plan for advancing healthcare information technology, according to published reports. The “ONC-Coordinated Federal Health Information Technology Strategic Plan: 2008-2012” sets two goals: patient-focused healthcare and population health.

Robert Kolodner, the national coordinator for healthcare I.T., said the plan will guide the federal government’s healthcare IT efforts, which seek to achieve nationwide implementation of an interoperable health IT infrastructure throughout both the public and private sector.

The goal of patient-centered care “envisions a transformation to higher quality, more-cost efficient care, meeting patients’ needs, through electronic health information access and use,” the ONC states.

The second goal, related to population health, envisions the appropriate, authorized, and timely access and use of electronic health information to benefit public health, biomedical research, quality improvement, and emergency preparedness.

The plan sets forth these strategies:

  • Commitment to the engagement of multiple stakeholders across the public and private sectors;
  • Concern for reliability, confidentiality, privacy, and security when exchanging, storing, and using electronic health information; and
  • Focus on the consumer of healthcare as a critical participant in achieving the two overarching goals of the plan.

The ONC, which works under the Department of Health and Human Services, developed the plan in collaboration with 12 agencies and staff divisions within HHS, the Departments of Commerce, Defense, and Veterans Affairs, and the Federal Communications Commission. Two federal advisory bodies, the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics and the American Health Information Community, also informed some of the strategies and milestones that are cited in the plan.

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