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Analysis

Federal Health IT Plan Reaffirms Patients' Access to Health Data

By Scott Mace  
   October 30, 2020

HHS updates strategic plan that puts individuals first by focusing on person-centered care.

Patients demanding access to their own health information have reason to celebrate, as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on October 30 published the final 2020-2025 Federal Health IT Strategic Plan.

Developed by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), the plan, last updated in 2015, was further updated in accordance with the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Act.

The key principles of the plan include:

  • Putting individuals first by focusing on person-centered care
     
  • Focusing on value by promoting and pursuing activities that improve health and care quality
     
  • Building a culture of secure access to health information
     
  • Putting research into action, encouraging innovation and competition
     
  • Developing health IT policies in transparent and accountable processes

The plan continues the momentum of the Twenty-First Century Cures Act and "reflects the federal government’s commitment to making patients’ electronic health information accessible on their smartphones,” said Don Rucker, MD, national coordinator for health IT, in a news release.

The federal agencies that collaborated on the plan regulate, purchase, develop, and use health IT to help deliver care and improve patient health. They fund and contribute to health IT research, development, and deployment at the local, tribal, state, and national level.

Federal agencies also coordinate across public and private sectors to align standards, promote innovation and competition, and share best practices. The plan can serve as a roadmap for these initiatives and as a catalyst for complementary activities in the private sector.

“We value [the plan] as an example of our shared federal vision to leverage health IT to reduce burden, promote the interoperable exchange of health information across the health care system, lower costs, and ultimately improve patient care,” said Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, in the release.

“[The plan] reflects the federal government’s commitment to making patients’ electronic health information accessible on their smartphones.”

Scott Mace is a contributing writer for HealthLeaders.


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