The US Office of the National Co-ordinator for Health IT (ONCHIT) has just published the National e-Health Strategy for the USA.
The documents can be downloaded from here:
An outline of the plan is provided by Kaiser in their daily Health Policy Report. .
[Jun 04, 2008]
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS on Tuesday released a cross-agency directive to speed up the adoption of a nationwide health information technology system that would improve health care quality, increase efficiency, reduce medical errors and address concerns of patient privacy and data security, CQ HealthBeat reports. The document lays out "comprehensive" guidelines to help federal agencies over the next five years establish a health IT system that would link the private and public sectors, HHS officials said.
HHS' plan was developed as part of an executive order issued by President Bush in 2004, which also established a federal health IT coordinator position. At that time, Bush also announced a goal of granting most U.S. residents access to electronic health records by 2014.
The plan focuses on using health IT to aid in direct care to patients, as well as population health, which addresses efforts to improve public health, planning for large-scale emergency health events, and biomedical research, according to Shannah Koss, vice president of Avalere Health, the consulting firm in Washington, D.C., that helped HHS develop the directive. Koss added that the plan is the first-ever nationwide health IT plan.
The plan's goals include addressing medical privacy, records security, creating uniform standards to ensure the uninhibited flow of health data and methods of assisting health care constituents to work together to create a health IT system. According to CQ HealthBeat, the plan also establishes strategies and milestones for meeting each of its goals.
The plan is summarised as follows:
“The Plan has two goals, Patient-focused Health Care and Population Health, which are defined as follows:
Patient-focused Health Care: Enable the transformation to higher quality, more cost-efficient, patient-focused health care through electronic health information access and use by care providers, and by patients and their designees.
Population Health: Enable the appropriate, authorized, and timely access and use of electronic health information to benefit public health, biomedical research, quality improvement, and emergency preparedness.
Each goal has four objectives and the themes of privacy and security, interoperability, adoption, and collaborative governance recur across the goals, but they apply in very different ways to health care and population health.”
It seems to me this is a remarkably clear and focussed approach. In the detail focus on privacy and security, interoperability, adoption and governance is welcome and sound.
It also seems to me this plan is very close to the big picture of what is required in Australia – the only major differences being around what timeframes and what priorities might be set.
Interestingly is it clear the big picture vision is an extension and re-focussing of the original vision for a “Medical Internet” proposed by David Brailer years ago. The US is moving towards the bottom up National Health Information Network that has been in the background for years.
The criteria for recognising success I very much like:
“Ultimately, we will know we have achieved success when:
- Health IT becomes common and expected in health care delivery nationwide for all communities, including those caring for underserved or disadvantaged populations;
- Your health information is available to you and those caring for you so that you receive safe, high quality, and efficient care;
- You will be able to use information to better determine what choices are right for you with respect to your health and care; and
- You trust your health information can be used, in a secure environment, without compromising your privacy, to assess and improve the health in your community, measure and make available the quality of care being provided, and support advances in medical knowledge through research. “
I commend this to all interested as an invaluable document.