On December 8, 2014, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) issued the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan 2015-2020.  “The Strategic Plan represents a coordinated and focused effort to appropriately collect, share, and use interoperable health information to improve health care, individual, community and public health, and advance research across the federal government in collaboration with private industry.”  In developing the Strategic Plan, ONC collaborated with more than 35 federal agencies.

The Strategic Plan describes the government’s strategies to achieve five goals:

  1. Expand adoption of health IT by: (A) increasing the adoption and effective use of health IT products, systems, and services; (B) increasing user and market confidence in the safety and safe use of health IT products, systems, and services; and (C) advancing a national communications infrastructure that supports health, safety, and care delivery.
  2. Advance secure and interoperable health information by: (A) enabling individuals, providers, and public health entities to securely send, receive, find, and use electronic health information; (B) identifying, prioritizing, and advancing technical standards to support secure and interoperable health information; and (C) protecting the privacy and security of health information.
  3. Strengthen health care delivery by: (A) improving health care quality, access, and experience through safe, timely, effective, efficient, equitable, and person-centered care; (B) supporting the delivery of high-value health care; and (C) improving clinical and community services and population health.
  4. Advance the health and well-being of individuals and communities by: (A) empowering individual, family, and caregiving health management and engagement; and (B) protecting and promoting public health and healthy, resilient communities.
  5. Advance research, scientific knowledge, and innovation by: (A) increasing access to and usability of high-quality electronic health information and services; (B) accelerating the development and commercialization of innovative technologies and solutions; and (C) investing, disseminating, and translating research on how health IT can improve health and care delivery.

Under each goal, the Strategic Plan outlines objectives, outcomes, and strategies.  Outcomes are broken into 3-year and 6-year time-frames to achieve results.  The Strategic Plan also lists the federal departments and agencies that will have a role in achieving each outcome.  “That role can include using their authorities and programs to advance progress towards that desired outcome, but may also include the department or agency using health IT while providing direct care or support services.”  The goals, objectives, and strategies outlined in the plan will be worked on concurrently.

The Strategic Plan is open for a 60-day public comment period, which ends on February 6, 2015.  Comments can be made through the HealthIT.gov website.