Word from Washington
the Internal Revenue Service, and the Department of Justice. The Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice are concerned about antitrust issues, while the Internal
Revenue Service is worried about the tax-exempt status of
ACOs. All three agencies released requests for comments.
ONC’s Federal Health IT Plan
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC)
also was active, releasing a draft of its strategic plan, titled
“Federal Health Information Technology Strategic Plan,
2011–2015.” ARRA-HITECH mandated the plan, which replaces the one issued by the Bush administration in 2008.
Comments were due in late April.
ONC reiterates its vision of “a health system that uses infor-
mation to empower individuals and to improve the health of
the population” in the plan, as well as its mission to “improve
health and health care for all Americans through the use of
information and technology.”
ONC notes that in developing and executing the federal
health IT strategy, the government strives to:
ONC lists five initial goals and 52 strategies, some of which
are already under way as part of the meaningful use program
and other ARRA-HITECH initiatives. The five goals are to:
Improve care and population health and reduce healthcare costs through the use of health IT, which includes support of more sophisticated uses of EHRs and other health
IT to improve health system performance; better managed
care, efficiency, and population health through EHR-generat-ed reporting measures; demonstrated health IT-enabled reform of payment structure, clinical practices, and population
health management; and support of new approaches to the
use of health IT in research, public and population health,
and national health security.
Inspire confidence and trust in health IT, which includes
protecting confidentiality, integrity, and availability of health
information; informing individuals of their rights and increasing transparency regarding the uses of protected health
information; and improving the safety and effectiveness of
Empower individuals to improve their health and the
healthcare system through health IT, which includes engaging individuals with health IT; accelerating individual and
caregiver access to their electronic health information in a
format they can use and reuse; and integrating patient-gen-erated health information and consumer health IT with clinical applications to support patient-centered care.
Achieve rapid learning and technological advancement,
which includes leading the creation of a learning health system to support quality, research, and public and population
health and broadening the capacity of health IT through innovation and research.
AHIMA will provide comments on ONC’s strategic plan. As
its title suggests, the plan falls short of a nationwide healthcare industry plan for information management and technology. It also must be integrated into other HHS initiatives that
directly affect its success. For instance, the plan includes
a brief mention of the ICD-10-CM/PCS transition and its
potential administrative cost savings but fails to note how
ICD-10-CM/PCS and various other terminologies can help
achieve a number of the strategies covered in the plan.
The full report is available at http://healthit.hhs.gov under
“Outreach, Events, & Resources.” See “Federal Health IT
There are common themes in all three of these initiatives,
and AHIMA expects more to come in the not-too-distant fu-
ture, including a patient safety program and an Institute of
Medicine report. Each initiative requires quality health infor-
mation and information management skills, which HIM pro-
fessionals can provide.
HIM professionals should review each initiative, comment on them, and help lead the changes that are occurring
around us. While the ACO and IT plans are not final, organizations will need to factor them into organizational thinking
and strategic plans. ¢
Dan Rode ( email@example.com) is AHIMA’s vice president of policy and