The Department of Health and Human Services, led by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), released the draft 2020-2025 Federal Health IT Strategic Plan (plan) for public comment. This plan, which was developed in collaboration with over 25 federal organizations, is intended to guide federal health information technology (IT) activities.
The strategic plan is focused on meeting the needs of:
The plan focuses on ‘How to make sure patients and caregivers have access to information they value and can use. The interoperability of health information seems to be the key focus.
It focuses on allowing individuals to select Technology or apps they wish to use to access their information and control its movement. ONC, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and their federal partners will assert upon taking major steps to make healthcare more transparent, accountable, and accessible.
From Mobile Apps to Automation and Machine Learning the future of healthcare seems promising.
Health IT And How It Is Used
Health IT has emerged as one of the most important components of healthcare in the United States. The health system can be significantly improved by focusing on various aspects of Health IT. As of 2017, 80 percent of physician offices and 96 percent of acute care hospitals use ONC-certified health IT. As a result of new technologies, electronic health data is becoming a key asset for all its relevant stakeholders.
With these rapid advancements, it is becoming vital for the federal government to ensure Electronic Health Information EHI is easily available and accessible to patients and also can be used to improve healthcare decision making.
Health IT is used in a number of ways. Individual patients can use health IT (e.g., patient portals and patient-facing apps) to access their health information, track and manage the treatment of their health conditions, and interact with healthcare providers. When available, they can also assess quality and cost information to make informed decisions about where to seek care.
Healthcare providers and healthcare organizations can use health IT to input and reference their patients’ health information to make clinical decisions, create care plans, exchange health information with other clinicians and care settings, assess the overall health of their patient populations, and engage in quality improvement and population health management activities. Public health workers, researchers, and community-based organizations increasingly use health IT outside of the care setting to assess health and healthcare quality across different individuals and populations so they can address health and related social disparities, lower costs, and improve outcomes.
Challenges in Healthcare
One of the challenges in healthcare space is ‘Access to Technology’ & its usage.
Federal Health IT Strategic Plan 2020-2025 & Opportunities in Healthcare IT
1. Person-Centered Care
Health IT has enabled patients to review their information in a much speedy and cost-effective manner. This information helps patients to make their decisions. Patients' access to the data is the center of this whole Health IT environment. Federal Health IT plan 2020-2025 focuses on policies that entail the importance of the use of APIs in Health IT and define regulations under which the development of health apps that provide access to data in EHRs.
Person-centered care is widely becoming the key component, the development of Apps & APIs in this regard will not only fulfill the objective but also will gain more popularity and user base.
2. Data Sharing
The focus is to improve interoperability. EHRs are widely used in practices and hospitals. The focus is to securely exchange electronic health information without special effort on the part of the user. The need for the development of tools & APIs that will help achieve interoperability and can make information sharing easy will grow. Technologies that enable Data Sharing will gain momentum.
3. Privacy of Health Information
It is imperative to make sure all the apps and tools that cater to patient health information or any relevant data must be able to securely process and exchange the data. The emphasis of the strategic plan 2020-2025 is on all the stakeholders that is government bodies, healthcare provider, Tech Developers, and other key team members to work together to implement a robust mechanism for ensuring the privacy of health information as more and more data are generated and health IT becomes more interoperable.
Objectives & Focus
In the coming years, Health IT will revolve primarily around the focus to promote health and wellness and will definitely go beyond just handling and transmitting health information. The following objectives laid down in the 2020-2025 federal health IT plan would define the course of health IT and development world.
There is a big opportunity for health care IT businesses whose focus is on access, exchange, and use of data by developing secure APIs and building Apps that will support clinical decision making, population health management, and individual access to quality data and cost information. The objectives set forth in the 2020-2025 plan clearly defines the areas that need attention and there lies the opportunity for health IT professionals.
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