The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Health IT Playbook


Why a Playbook?

With the nationwide focus on value and quality in healthcare and incentives for healthcare providers to transform their practices and care delivery, investing in health information technology (health IT) is an imperative. For many, the question of how to get health IT to work efficiently and effectively in practice remains a challenge.

Making digital information resources available to providers in an easy-to-navigate format is one way to address this question and ease the burden of implementing and using health IT. The Health IT Playbook provides actionable steps for addressing many of these challenges and offers healthcare providers guidance on how to implement and use health IT to advance care information and delivery.

The challenges associated with implementing health IT are evident. In 2016, the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) launched the Health IT Playbook to answer many questions providers ask when implementing and using health IT.

This Playbook offers strategies, recommendations, and best practices — extensively researched and gleaned from a variety of clinical settings — to help you find the answers you need. The Playbook’s actionable steps will help reduce the pain of implementing and using health IT in your practice while advancing care information and delivery.

Use the Playbook to:

  • Choose, implement, or upgrade an electronic health record (EHR) system
  • Redesign workflows to improve and optimize practice efficiency and effectiveness
  • Connect and share information with other providers and public health officials
  • Engage patients and their families
  • Improve patient outcomes and prepare for new quality-payment programs
  • Protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of personal health information in your EHR system
  • Access tools and resources on health IT topics including the Quality Payment Program, workforce training, and standards

Use this glossary, adapted from the Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment, to help establish a common language with all stakeholders.

About the Playbook tools and content

Since the launch of the Playbook in September 2016, ONC has continued working with internal and external partners to identify relevant, timely, and actionable tools and content.

We adapted some tools and resources from ONC's Regional Extension Center (REC) program. Sixty-two RECs provided technical assistance and best practices for accelerating use of EHR technology in support of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) EHR Incentive Program (Meaningful Use).

We also added content from ONC’s Beacon Community program. The 17 communities, selected from throughout the U.S., have made inroads in developing secure, private, and accurate EHR systems and health information exchanges.

A significant number of the Health IT Playbook tools reference the CMS EHR Incentive Program (Meaningful Use) Stage 1 and Stage 2. This content remains relevant, but future Playbook updates and releases will adapt existing Meaningful Use-based tools and provide resources that support new alternative payment models (APMs) and value-based care.

Future updates and releases will also:

Help us improve the Playbook

The Health IT Playbook is still a new resource and, because we believe engaged players make a better Playbook, we encourage you to keep assessing its value and to suggest ways that we can improve it. You’ll find multiple places where you can submit feedback and suggestions based on your experience with the site.


References or links in this website to any specific non-federal entity, commercial product, process, service, or company do not constitute their endorsement or recommendation by the U.S. Government or HHS. HHS is not responsible for the contents of any “off-site” website linked to in this website, nor is HHS responsible for such other website’s compliance with Section 508 (accessibility).

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Content last updated on: May 31, 2017