President Bush's goal of most Americans having electronic health records (EHR) by 2014, as well as the broader interoperable health information technology infrastructure, now has a fairly detailed HHS plan of achievement. Developed by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, the plan lays out a course of achievable benchmarks over the next five years involving numerous federal, state and local governmental agencies as well as the private sector.
On paper, the 115-page plan breaks down into the two broad areas of patient-focused health and population health. Each goal has four separate themes, which include privacy and security, collaborative governance, adoption and interoperability with the promise that privacy and security frameworks will be in place this year. The ambitious plan has a target of 40 percent of physicians' offices nationwide utilizing EHRs by 2012. Looking at current levels under this benchmark, another 11 percent of offices would have to adopt EHRs in the subsequent two years to meet the President's goal.
The ultimate goal is to enable all types of electronic health information, including lab results, prescription histories, medical images and information from healthcare tools (e.g., blood pressure readings, risk assessment tools and other monitoring devices) and more, to flow into an EHR or PHR to form a comprehensive portrayal of the patient's health.
In addition to specific plans and timetables for both goals and the respective themes, the 115-page document detailing the plan also provides 42 pages of cataloged activities currently being undertaken by federal agencies to meet the goals of the plan. Despite concerns of a changing presidential administration in the midst of the plan rollout, National Coordinator for Health IT, Robert Kolodner, M.D., pointed out that health IT has the backing of both parties in Congress.
Click here to read the plan's summary. To read the entire health IT strategic plan, click here.