ONC Puts Forth a Strategy for Federal Health IT for the Next Five Years

Published: February 27, 2020


Last month, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) within HHS released a draft of the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan for 2020-2025.

The plan means to serve as a roadmap for federal agencies and the private sector to drive priorities and coordinate efforts.

The plan states the federal health IT vision as “a healthy system that uses information to engage individuals, lower costs, deliver high-quality care, and improve individual population health.” The mission of federal health IT is to “improve the health and well-being of individuals and communities using technology and health information that is accessible when and where it matters most.”

The strategy focuses on the following health principles:

  • Focus on value
  • Put individuals first
  • Build a cutler of secure access to health information
  • Put research into action
  • Encourage innovation and competition
  • Be a responsible steward

The plan lays out four overarching goals, each of which has several specified objectives and strategies for achieving them.  The overarching goals are to:

  • Promote health and wellness
  • Enhance the delivery and experience of care
  • Build a secure, data-driven ecosystem to accelerate research and innovation
  • Connect health care and health data through an interoperable health IT infrastructure

The plan supports providing electronic health information to patients via smartphone applications as envisioned by the 21st Century Cures Act. The focus of the strategy is to give patients more access to their data via APIs and smartphone applications.

This plan is intended to serve as a roadmap for federal health IT initiatives and activities, and as a catalyst for activities in the private sector. The strategic plan will be used to:

  • Prioritize resources
  • Align and coordinated efforts
  • Signal priorities to the private sector
  • Benchmark and assess progress

ONC plans to communicate industry-wide progress toward the plan in its annual report to Congress on health IT adoption and use.

The strategic plan was developed by ONC in collaboration with more than 25 federal organizations. The public comment period on the draft plan ends on March 18, 2020.