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Federal Agencies Release Coordinated Health IT Plan

By Rebecca Adams, CQ HealthBeat Associate Editor

December 8, 2014 -- The public has until Feb. 6 to comment on a health IT strategy released by 35 federal agencies Monday.

The plan will feed into a broader roadmap that will be released early next year.

The strategy is one of a series of efforts put forward by federal officials. The first federal health IT strategic plan was published in June 2008.

“With this updated plan, the federal government signals that, while we will continue to work towards more widespread adoption of health IT, efforts will begin to include new sources of information and ways to disseminate knowledge quickly, securely, and efficiently,” said Karen DeSalvo, national coordinator for health IT and acting assistant secretary for health, in a letter included in the plan.

The plan’s goals include ways to boost the collection and sharing of electronic health information.

The strategy affects the more than 400,000 hospitals and physicians participating in the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record Incentive Programs, as well as professionals that work with medical records for military personnel or veterans, among other programs.

“As a large provider and purchaser of care, we continually look for ways to expand the sharing of critical healthcare information with our healthcare partners,” said Karen S. Guice, principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for health affairs at the Pentagon.

The plan “represents specific goals and strategies for how interoperability will be leveraged to foster the technological advancement of health information exchange to improve quality of care for veterans,” said Gail Graham, deputy secretary for health informatics and analytics at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

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