Government auditors told federal lawmakers that despite some advances, HHS "has not yet completed a national strategy for" health information technology, adding that the department's reluctance to do so hinders further industrywide progress.
"Given the amount of work yet to be done and the complex task of integrating the outcomes of HHS' various initiatives, it is essential that a national strategy for health IT be defined that includes plans, milestones and performance measures for ensuring progress toward the president's goals," Valerie Melvin, director of human capital and management information systems issues at the Government Accountability Office, said in written testimony.
President Bush in 2004 called for the widespread adoption of integrated electronic health records within a decade. Since then, federal agencies have created certification criteria for some EHRs, selected a standardized platform and developed local information exchanges to help with ground-level implementation.
Even so, HHS's National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has failed to develop a national strategy that would sort out what works and what doesn't, Melvin told members of the Senate Budget Committee.
"Without such a strategy, it is difficult to effectively monitor progress toward achieving national goals for health IT," she said.