Have you had a chance to look at the federal health IT strategic plan for 2015-2020? Probably not. You have to be a real geek to want to review this plan, and yes, I did :). The plan explains how the federal government intends to apply the electronic health information to achieve the highest quality of healthcare possible. It focuses on advancing health information technology, lowering costs and engaging individuals with an end result of a healthy population.

The HITECH act (2009) has helped the federal strategy evolve. With the incentives provided by the government, health IT adoption and electronic information helped practices move toward information exchange. I will say, we are not there yet. Are we closer? I can’t answer that. In 2009, I would have thought we would be there by now.

The Plan Framework

The Plan includes four overarching goals.

  • Advance person-centered health and self-management;
  • Transform health care delivery and community health;
  • Foster research, scientific knowledge and innovation; and
  • Enhance the United States health IT infrastructure.

These goals and their respective objectives and strategies should not be viewed as sequential, but as interdependent with a collective purpose of improving the health and well-being of individuals and communities.

The Plan identifies the federal government’s health IT priorities. While this Plan focuses on federal strategies, achieving this Plan’s vision requires collaboration from private stakeholders and state, territorial, local, and tribal governments. Efforts across the ecosystem – by individuals, families, caregivers, health care entities and providers, public health entities, payers, technology developers, community-based nonprofit organizations, home-based supports, and academic institutions – are also essential.

Government action will be the main driver for certain strategies, and for others, federal action will either supplement existing stakeholder work or encourage additional activities to begin. The vision and goals articulated in this Plan are not exclusive to the federal government; their attainment will require collaborative engagement and commitment. The Plan seeks to illuminate issues where federal action will have less reach, and where state, territorial, regional, private, and individual actions will be more impactful.

Although this Plan has a broad scope, its implementation has a singular focus: improving the health and well-being of this nation through a resilient health IT infrastructure. Many strategies included in this Plan necessitate broad cultural changes. This Plan takes a holistic and long-range view of how the health IT infrastructure should evolve to advance person-centered health and wellness. Federal agencies will follow the Federal Health IT Principles described below during Plan implementation.

This Plan pursues a flexible, dynamic approach, and the federal government will make necessary adjustments if needed. Achieving the Plan’s vision will require collective responsibility and prioritization, and the federal government will continue to engage with all interested stakeholders to ensure that people, organizations, and communities can best take advantage of electronic health information and the health IT infrastructure.

Let’s check back in 2018, and see if we are on track. I sure hope so!