ONCs health IT strategic plan
January 20, 2020

ONC’s Federal Health IT Strategic Plan Shows Growth

ONC’s five-year strategic health IT draft plan lays out comprehensive goals, but, in some instances, how to achieve those goals is still murky.

A draft of a five-year federal health IT strategic plan was applauded by stakeholders for its comprehensive goals, but one expert pointed out its lack of directives on becoming interoperable with systems outside of healthcare as well as workforce development.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT’s strategic plan will serve as a “roadmap for federal agencies” to prioritize resources and coordinate health IT efforts once it’s finalized, according to ONC. It includes goals to improve patient access to data and foster greater transparency in healthcare. The plan was developed in coordination with more than 25 federal organizations, according to ONC.

Jeffery Smith, vice president of public policy for the American Medical Informatics Association, said the draft does a good job of moving away from the more EHR-centric federal health IT strategic plans of the past and sets a good framework for what ONC wants to accomplish.

But Smith said how ONC plans to achieve the goals it outlined is murky in some areas. It lacks details around, for example, what clinical measurements ONC will use to determine the quality of patient care being delivered, as well as how ONC plans to train employees to accomplish these goals.

“The plan is surprisingly light on workforce development, and I think that’s to the detriment of the plan,” Smith said. “There’s really very little conversation here on the human component to how this whole plan is meant to come to fruition.”

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