Federal Health IT Strategic Plan – Progress Report

Seth Pazinski and Gretchen Wyatt | July 19, 2013

Today, we released a report describing the progress made on the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan.  The report details:

  • grant programs,
  • innovation challenges,
  • certification, standards, and
  • regulatory policy.

All of these were developed through public and private collaboration to promote certified electronic health record (EHR) adoption and other health IT use and facilitate health information exchange.

When the current Federal Health IT Strategic Plan was issued in 2011, we noted it was an ambitious effort that needed to inspire trust while serving as a guide to wider adoption and meaningful use of health technology by the nation’s health care providers.

Strategic Plan Goals Set Stage for Health Care Modernization

The Plan, building on efforts to expand EHR adoption and the use of health IT,  set five goals for how health IT would create an infrastructure that supports the nation’s vision of better health, better care, and lower costs:

1)     Achieve Adoption and Information Exchange through Meaningful Use of Health IT;

2)     Improve Care, Improve Population health, and Reduce health Care Costs through the Use of Health IT;

3)     Inspire Confidence and Trust in Health IT;

4)     Empower Individuals with Health IT to Improve their Health and the Health Care System; and

5)     Achieve Rapid Learning and Technological Advancement.

With detailed strategies, describing the programs, policies, and collaborations that the Federal government crafted to implement the goals, the Plan sets the stage to achieve the bold goal, as we stated in the launch blog posting, of “modernizing the health care system and ushering in a new era of electronic health information.”

Health IT Achievements

Since ONC issued the Strategic Plan in 2011, ONC and many other Federal partners have undertaken a number of key steps to implement the five goals. Those include:

  • Seventeen Beacon Communities are building and strengthening the health IT infrastructure and exchange capabilities within their communities by:
    • translating health IT investments to measurable improvements in cost, quality, and population health, and
    • developing innovative approaches to performance measurement, technology and care delivery.
  • Specifications have been created for electronic clinical quality measures that align with the Medicare and Medicaid Meaningful Use EHR Incentives Program and National Quality Strategy.
  • More than 31,000 medical practices and 133,000 primary care providers optimize and meaningfully use EHR technology through the support of the 62 Regional Extension Centers across the country.
  • The HHS Patient Safety Plan is published and providing direction to public and private entities on ways they can address health IT and patient safety.
  • A new ONC office of Consumer eHealth is helping to educate and inform patients about the benefits of health IT.
    • The Consumer eHealth office coordinates the Blue Button Pledge Program, which more than 450 organizations have pledged to support.
    • This office also launched the Automate Blue Button initiative that has engaged volunteer organizations to establish common approaches and standards to let consumers privately and securely designate a preferred holding place for their health information.
  • A Request For Information was issued that sought input on a series of potential policy and programmatic changes and new ideas to accelerate electronic health information exchange and interoperability.
  • A marketplace tipping point was achieved in adoption of health IT, as proven by the number of health care providers adopting and meaningfully using EHRs.

Along with our Federal partners, we will release an updated progress report later in 2013. We expect even more success.

We welcome your feedback on the report, as well as on the specific projects we described above, in the comments section below.