About This Plan
Strategic Plan Development
To update the federal health IT Plan and implementation approach, ONC convened the Federal Health IT Advisory Council, an internal forum to discuss program alignments for existing and emerging health and health IT matters, to prioritize objectives and define implementation accountabilities within the Plan, and to coordinate federal health IT policy decisions. ONC drafted the Plan in consultation with over thirty-five entities and departments participating on the Council.
These federal partners encompass broad departmental missions with regulatory, health care provider, payer, human services, and privacy and security responsibilities. Collectively, the Council conveyed a diverse understanding of the unique needs and concerns of their stakeholders to ensure the Plan's direction would allow for varied approaches and methods to improve individuals' well-being and advance health IT's capacity to achieve broad health and care goals. Representative entities currently comprising the Federal Health IT Advisory Council as Plan developers are listed at the conclusion of this Plan.
How the Plan Evolved Since the Draft Release
Through a framework established for ONC's federal advisory groups, particularly the Health IT Policy Committee, ONC obtained public input to develop the Plan's content. Additionally, ONC accepted formal public comments on the Plan from December 2014 through February 2015, where ONC received roughly 400 comments from a wide array of stakeholders, including individuals, providers, health care organizations, technology developers, public health entities, EMS practitioners, and advocacy groups.
Most commenters expressed general support for the Plan's vision of better health and using electronic health information to provide better care, aid research, and improve public health. However, the Draft Plan's emphasis on "data" and "systems" resonated less than an overarching desire for the government to demonstrate how individuals, communities, providers, developers, and researchers can work together, supported by more useful information and more integrated health IT, to achieve the Plan's vision and mission.
While continuing to expand health IT adoption, this revised Plan focuses primarily on how systems and individuals, organizations, and communities will use the information that flows through them. The Plan revision has an expanded narrative to show the interdependencies of the various goals, objectives, and strategies: the federal government will pursue strategies that aim to accomplish many interrelated objectives, rather than seeking progress in one area before addressing others.
The Plan's strategies and outcomes show how the federal government's actions will firmly establish the supporting health IT infrastructure necessary for expanding the use of interoperable electronic health information to improve health and wellness.
Federal partners, in coordination with federal advisory committees, including the Health IT Policy and Standards Committees, interagency groups, and ONC, will work to implement the Plan and review and publicly report progress for its goals.
A public annual progress report will link where this Plan's strategies connect to other federal strategic initiatives for additional detail and context. ONC, in its role as coordinator, will maintain primary responsibility for the Plan's implementation, but each federal contributor has committed to specific strategies, as well as the Plan's overall success.
There is already significant work underway. Federal agencies have begun implementing certain activities and strategies included in the Plan. This work ranges from detailed and more specific action plans to significant federal initiatives.
The Draft Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap, the HHS Health IT Patient Safety Action and Surveillance Plan, and the Draft FDASIA Health IT Report respectively provide more granular information on actions related to interoperability, patient safety, and the health IT regulatory framework.
Another component of Plan implementation involves DoD's efforts to efficiently improve health care for the active duty military, veterans, and beneficiaries by modernizing the EHR for the Military Health System and establishing seamless medical data sharing between DoD and VA, and with the private sector.
Implementation also encompasses federal initiatives such as HHS' goals to shift Medicare and Medicaid payment from volume to value, and the creation of a Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network, an initiative where HHS will work with private payers, employers, individuals, providers, states and state Medicaid programs, and other partners to expand alternative payment models into their programs.
It also includes transformative research efforts, such as the Precision Medicine Initiative and using the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund. Efforts to streamline and align programs were included in the Stage 3 notice of proposed rulemaking for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs and the notice of proposed rulemaking for the 2015 Edition Health IT Certification Criteria. Additional alignment will occur through implementation of MACRA and other key legislative and executive authorities.
Furthermore, continued outreach to stakeholders by all the federal partners involved in the Plan's development and implementation will allow the Plan to evolve as the health IT marketplace matures, subsequently requiring new or modified approaches to policies and federal activities.
This engagement will also seek to provide the public with a better understanding of the federal government's direction to improve health care, individual and community health, and research, supported by the use of interoperable health information, and to receive feedback on what remains to be improved.