As the nation shifts to electronic health records, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) is looking for public input for updating the Federal Health IT strategic plan. ONC is partnering with CeRI (Cornell eRulemaking Initiative) to solicit public input on this plan which outlines goals and strategies for the nationwide shift to electronic health records, and for creation and spread of new health information technologies for consumers and healthcare providers.
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 PlanningRoom.org, an innovative online public commenting website that 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.
“Whether you’re a health care 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, the McRoberts Professor of Research in the Administration of the Law at Cornell Law School and a principal researcher in CeRI.
Through this partnership with CeRI, ONC has committed to broad public participation. “Open dialogue with the public improves Federal government policymaking and planning,” said Farzad Mostashari, M.D., 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.”
The CeRI researchers hope that rural health care providers and health care professionals in smaller practices and care facilities will engage in this dialogue, as these stakeholders don't often participate in federal public-comment periods. “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 will help shape federal policy,” added Farina.