ONC unveils 10-year plan for healthcare interoperability

Dan Bowman | FierceHealthIT | June 5, 2014

By 2024, the national health IT infrastructure and data standards will evolve to support robust information sharing and aggregation, creating a “continuous learning” environment for care, according to an ONC paper published today.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT outlined a 10-year plan to develop an interoperable health IT ecosystem that can simultaneously improve population health, boost patient engagement and lower costs.

The agency shared a set of five “critical building blocks” for achieving its goals, while also revealing its expectations for three, six and 10 years down the road.

National Coordinator for Health IT Karen DeSalvo, at the Patient Privacy Rights Summit in the District of Columbia on June 4, talked about the importance of getting feedback from multiple stakeholders for the paper, published in the wake of ONC’s recently announced realignment, which aims to streamline processes as federal funding dries up.

“Though at ONC we have set interoperability to connect care and information on behalf of patients and consumers as a high priority … I want to make sure that it’s clear to folks that we didn’t do that in our box at Humphrey,” DeSalvo said. “We spent the first few months doing quite a bit of informal … and formal environmental scans, looking for what kinds of writings, letters, comments we were receiving from our stakeholders of all walks.”

While the current health system has the capability to capture data at rest and in silos, DeSalvo said, to really make it powerful, it needs to be able to move safely and securely for the benefit of people.

“Interoperability … is so complex,” she said. “It requires all of us to have some shared responsibility thinking through how we’re going to get there in a way that meets everyone’s needs and expectations.”

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