April 1, 2013, Ithaca, N.Y.: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has partnered with CeRI (the Cornell eRulemaking Initiative) to solicit public input on updating the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan. An innovative online public commenting website, PlanningRoom.org, allows people to learn about and discuss how new information technologies – from electronic health record systems to mobile phone apps – can help consumers and providers improve health, health care and the health care system.
The current topic for public comment is “Empower Individuals through Health IT to Improve Health and Health Care.” This discussion will be open until May 9, 2013 on Planning-Room.org.
“Whether you’re a healthcare consumer, provider, insurer, researcher, or IT developer, you should have a voice in this process of updating the federal government’s health IT plan,” said Cynthia R. Farina, McRoberts professor of research in the administration of the law at Cornell Law School and a principal researcher in CeRI. “ONC is committed to the broadest possible public participation, and CeRI is excited to provide Planning Room: an easy, innovative way for individuals and groups learn about the issues that ONC hopes to address and offer their own thoughts, experiences and suggestions.”
“Open dialogue with the public improves Federal government policymaking and planning,” said Farzad Mostashari, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. “By using Planning Room we will be able to hear directly from those people who are interested and involved in ONC activities to inform our future direction.”
“Planning Room is designed to make it easier for individual patients, families and caregivers to understand what these decisions about health information technology could mean for them – and to have a meaningful part in a national conversation that the will help shape federal policy,” said Professor Farina. “We hope that the discussion will also be joined by researchers, rural healthcare providers, and health care professionals in smaller medical practices and care facilities. These kinds of stakeholders often don’t participate in federal public-comment periods. Planning Room is a simple, accessible way for them to add their knowledge and experience, and voice their unique perspectives and concerns.”