Blumenthal Issues Update on 5-year Health IT Plan

Dr. David Blumenthal, ONC; Photo:

Outgoing Director of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, Dr. David Blumenthal provided probably the final update on the cause for which he has championed for the past two years: the adoption of electronic health records.

An updated version of the Health and Human Services Department’s health IT policy arm’s five-year strategic plan was opened for public comment Friday.

The plan, which was first published in 2008, was updated to reflect “the rapidly changing landscape of health IT and health IT policy that has been drastically altered over the past two years,” according to plan’s introduction.

The health IT landscape has been transformed so “drastically” in so small part because of two landmark pieces of legislation: the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, known as the HITECH Act, which was passed as part of the economic recovery package and the healthcare reform law passed last year.

As for the overhauled plan’s new policy implications?

According to a report in FierceGovernmentIT, the plan evangelizes the possibilities for “big data” in creating a true “learning health system.”

“Through a learning health system, the right information will be available to support a given decision, whether it is about the efficacy of a treatment or medication for an individual patient, predicting a national pandemic, or deciding whether to proceed with the research and development for a potential new treatment,” the plan states.

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