Final Federal Health IT Plan Seeks to Improve US Health, Health Care, Research, and Innovation

Published: September 30, 2015

HHSHealth CareHealth IT

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) within HHS, recently released the final health IT plan to guide the development and use of information technology “to help the nation achieve high-quality care, lower costs, a healthy population, and engaged individuals” over the next five years.

ONC released a draft federal health IT plan in December 2014 and received feedback from over 400 organizations and individuals. The final plan is the culmination of numerous working sessions with stakeholders and the Health IT Policy Committee.  The plan incorporates a wide range of federal initiatives and programs to advance health IT and sharing of health information to improve population health, patient care and medical research.

The vision of the Federal Health Information Technology Strategic Plan, 2015-2020 is high-quality care, lower costs, healthy population and engaged people.  The mission of the plan is to improve the health and well-being of individuals and communities through the use of technology and health information that is accessible when and where it matters most.

ONC lays out the following four goals to advance accessibility of health information and make it available when and where it is needed to improve and protect people’s health and well-being:  

  • Advance person-centered and self-managed health  
  • Transform health care delivery and community health  
  • Foster research, scientific knowledge and innovation  
  • Enhance the nation’s health IT infrastructure

The plan emphasizes the importance and need for collaboration from not only federal agencies, but also private stakeholders and state, territorial, local, and tribal governments in order to reach the plan’s objectives. Achievement of ONC’s vision will require that individuals, families, caregivers, providers, public health organizations, payers, technology developers, nonprofits, and academic institutions work together.

Each plan goal is supported by two to five specific objectives, along with strategies for achieving each objective.  Additionally, the goals and objectives of the federal health IT plan will be implemented and supported by 37 federal departments and agencies.  

In a blog post announcing the final plan, National Coordinator for Health IT Karen DeSalvo stated, “The Plan is an action plan for federal partners, as they work to expedite high-quality, accurate, secure, and relevant electronic health information for stakeholders across the nation.”  ONC will now turn its attention to implementation through collective engagement on health IT and information use across the health care ecosystem.