Measurement & Reporting
By design, this federal strategy is broad in scope and includes actions initiated by numerous federal departments, agencies, and offices. Although each federal entity has its own respective mission, levers, programs, and activities, the federal government's collective mission for health IT is to improve the health and well-being of individuals and communities through health information that is available when and where it matters most.
Because this Plan is linked to key national plans and initiatives addressing strategies and initiatives that rely on health IT to achieve their goals, our measurement and reporting will focus largely on whether this Plan's implementation of a health IT infrastructure allows those plans to accomplish their visions. These plans include detailed measurement sections on key outcomes related to strategies highlighted across the Plan.
The federal government will aim to be flexible in modifying strategies and correcting course to support the nation's ability to meet the vision, mission, and goals of an applied health IT infrastructure. Along with direct monitoring of the key initiatives and plans, the federal partners committed to this Plan's achievement will separately track progress in their respective areas.
As the infrastructure and strategies evolve during the Plan's life-cycle, so, too, will the selected proxies, to ensure the government remains accountable to the public and to the principles established in the Plan.
These proxy indicators will provide insight on whether the nation is progressing towards realizing part of the Plan's mission; however, these indicators are limited in their ability to provide a comprehensive understanding of whether federal actions described in this Plan are on track and whether these actions are achieving their desired impact.
Beginning in 2016, HHS will use its annual congressional report on the Adoption of Health IT and Related Efforts to Facilitate the Electronic Use and Exchange of Health Information to publish a more nuanced analysis and understanding of the health IT landscape and progress towards goals and objectives described in this Plan. The report will also provide detailed information on the progress of key health IT-related initiatives, and identify gaps and barriers.
Data included in that report currently rely on self-reported data from national surveys and federal reporting requirements. The national surveys include data from office-based physicians, hospitals, individuals and a subset of providers in long-term care settings. Participants of the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs provide data for federal reporting requirements. In the near-term, this report will likely continue to use self-reported data to measure progress.
However, this Plan's federal contributors recognize that measures assessing health IT adoption, interoperable exchange, and use are not sufficient to monitor progress. Long-term measurement will need to assess the impacts of federal actions related to health IT, and how these actions influence the Plan's goals of advancing person-centered health and self-management, transforming health care delivery and community health, and fostering research, scientific knowledge, and innovation.
During implementation of this Plan, federal contributors will work continuously to refine the type of data collected and reported to increase transparency and accountability. ONC will also work with the Health IT Policy and Standards Committees for guidance on measurement concepts and domains.
Further, ONC will regularly update the Health IT Dashboard to display progress across a number of health IT domains. Additionally, this Plan's federal contributors will look for ways to include health IT measurement concepts in complementary strategic plans and initiatives.
The federal government will begin to measure the Plan's success by monitoring the following set of proxy indicators that ONC will collect and report publicly on an annual basis:
- Percent of office-based physicians that treat patients seen by providers outside medical organization that have clinical information from those outside encounters electronically available at the point of care (Data Source: National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) National EHR Survey)
- Percent of non-federal acute care hospitals that routinely have necessary clinical information available electronically from outside providers or sources when treating a patient seen by another health care provider or setting (Data Source: American Hospital Association's Annual Survey Information Technology Supplement)
- Percent of individuals who experienced one or more gaps in health information when seeking care (Data Source: ONC Consumer Survey of Attitudes Toward the Privacy and Security Aspects of Electronic Health Records and Health Information Exchange)