AAFP Comments on ONC Health IT Strategic Plan

AAFPIn December, 2014, HHS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) issued its Federal Health IT Strategic Plan 2015-2020. The Strategic Plan  outlines and defines the federal strategy for framing a Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap. The final plan is expected to be released sometime this Spring. The period to comment on the Strategic Plan ends Feb. 6, 2015.

The goals of the Strategic Plan are identified as follows:

  • Expand adoption of Health IT
  • Advance Secure and Interoperable Health Information
  • Strengthen Health Care Delivery
  • Advance the Healthand Well-Being of Individuals and Communities
  • Advance Research, Scientific Knowledge, and Innovation

The American Association of Family Physicians  (AAFP) has provided comments on the Strategic Plan in a January 15, 2015 letter to the ONC. In the letter signed by AAFP Board Chair Reid Blackwelder, MD, the association praises the work done by the ONC and other agencies in creating the plan, lending support to the five goals outlined. That said, the association also provides some criticism. Acknowledging Interoperability remains a key capability for the industry, the association proposes population health management, care coordination, and patient engagement need more attention. Additionally, the association questions how resources will be allocated, given the breadth of the plan.

From the letter:

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As the AAFP considers its strategic plan for the next ten years for health IT, we believe that interoperability remains a key capability for our specialty. Usability of health IT is also top of mind for our members. Work is required to develop complete sociotechnical systems that support primary care’s key capabilities needed to achieve the three-part aim. Given the breadth and depth of the work that could be initiated around health IT, we are concerned that resources may be spread so thin that no significant achievements are made toward the goals laid out in the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan. Focus is needed to ensure concerted efforts that result in significant movement toward achievement of the three-part aim. We believe that focusing on key capabilities that health care organizations and providers really need could assure the concerted efforts. We propose that Population Health Management, Care Coordination, and Patient Engagement be the key capabilities focused on for the near term.

Time is running out as the comment period closes February 6. You can provide comment on the HealthIT.gov website.