ONC Accepting Comments on Health Information Technology Strategic Plan for 2011-2015 and New National Coordinator Named

April 11, 2011

Health Information Technology Strategic Plan

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has released the Federal Health Information Technology Strategic Plan for 2011-2015. The first Federal Health IT Strategic Plan was published in June 2008. The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (the HITECH Act), part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, requires that the national coordinator update and republish the plan.

In the preface to the plan, Dr. David Blumenthal, then national coordinator, referred to healthcare information technology as being the “lifeblood of modern healthcare.” Acknowledging the complexity of coordinating the various government commitments originating from the HITECH Act and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, Blumenthal provided that the plan answers “how does it all fit together” with respect to health IT and its role in promoting health and healthcare reform.

The plan outlines five specific goals to reach during the next five years:

  • Goal 1 : Achieve adoption and information exchange through meaningful use of health information technology.
  • Goal 2 : Improve care and population health, and reduce healthcare costs through use of health information technology.
  • Goal 3 : Inspire confidence and trust in health information technology.
  • Goal 4 : Empower individuals with health information technology to improve their health and the healthcare system.
  • Goal 5 : Achieve rapid learning and technological advancement.

The plan addresses how ONC will collaborate with federal partners to use health information technology to: enhance best practices; engage individuals to participate more in their care; reduce medical errors; and make healthcare more affordable. ONC is accepting public comments on the draft strategic plan until April 22. After the comment period, ONC will publish a final version of the plan on its website.  A copy of the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan: 2011-2015, and an area to submit comments is available on the Health IT Buzz Blog.

Farzad Mostashari Named New National Coordinator

On April 8, 2011, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius named Farzad Mostashari, M.D., ScM., as the new national coordinator for health information technology, effective immediately. Prior to his appointment, Mostashari was the ONC’s deputy national coordinator for programs and policy. Prior to joining the ONC, he was the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene assistant commissioner for the Primary Care Information Project.

In February, Blumenthal announced he would resign from his position as national coordinator and return to his position at Harvard Medical School. President Obama appointed Blumenthal National Coordinator in 2009.

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