National Council for Behavioral Health

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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Behavioral Health

HHS Releases Updated Health IT Strategic Plan

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This week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released an updated draft of their Federal Health IT Strategic Plan 2015-2020. The “Draft Plan,” prepared by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, builds upon the administration’s previous Strategic Plan from 2011 and supports the continued advancement of widespread health IT adoption.

The Plan lays out objectives to increase the involvement of providers not participating in the EHR Incentive Program, including behavioral health providers. While HHS does not have the authority to expand the EHR incentive program to include these providers, it is focused on expanding the adoption and use of health IT and other technologies such as telehealth and mobile health.

The draft is organized around five key goals:

  • Expand Adoption of Health IT – including through such objectives as advancing a national communications infrastructure that supports health, safety, and care delivery;
  • Advance Secure and Interoperable Health Information – including through such objectives as enabling individuals, providers, and public health entities to securely send, receive, find, and use electronic health information;
  • Strengthen Health Care Delivery – including through such objectives as improving clinical and community services and population health;
  • Advance the Health and Well-Being of Individuals and Communities – including through such objectives as empowering individual, family, and caregiver health management and engagement; and
  • Advance Research, Scientific Knowledge, and Innovation – including through accelerating the development and commercialization of innovative technologies and solutions.

The Draft Plan notes that “93 percent of eligible hospitals and 76 percent of physicians and eligible professionals are taking part in the first stage of the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs.  In addition, more than 150,000 health care providers across the nation are working with the HITECH-funded regional extension centers to optimize the use of health IT.”

In the press release, HHS noted that the Draft Plan “serves as the broad federal strategy setting the context and framing the Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap,” which is set to be released in early 2015. The Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap is intended “to advance the use of interoperable health information.”

The National Council will be submitting written comments and will make our comments available to all members as a template for submitting your own. To develop our comments, we are asking members to share your ideas with us! Please email Michael Petruzzelli with your thoughts.