On March 18, 2020, the Alliance of Specialty Medicine submitted comments to the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health IT in response to its draft 2020-2025 Federal HIT Strategic Plan. This 5-year roadmap is part of ONC’s ongoing efforts to improve the exchange and access to electronic health information and will serve as a blueprint for federal agencies, such as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), as well as private sector partners.
The draft plan outlines four overarching goals: promoting health and wellness; enhancing care delivery; building a data-driven ecosystem to accelerate research and innovation; and connecting health data through an interoperable health IT infrastructure. The Alliance provided feedback on specific objectives presented by ONC to meet these goals. The Alliance’s comments largely echoed concerns expressed last year in response to ONC’s Interoperability proposed rule [see attached…insert link if available] and CMS’ Patient Data Access proposed rule [see attached…insert link if available]. The Alliance urged ONC to:
- Ensure that federal efforts to promote the use of health IT keep patient safety and higher quality care front and center;
- Ensure that these efforts consider how best to incorporate technologies into existing workflows to reduce reporting requirements and minimize burden;
- Consider the potential and serious implications associated with making data so easily accessible and transferable, including risks related to information overload (on the part of both the patient and the clinician), threats to data security and privacy, and increased physician burden;
- Keep in mind that practices continue to face significant challenges related to the collection, organization, and application of electronic data; and
- Bolster secure access to large datasets of health information for quality improvement.