HHS' Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology on Thursday launched its latest interoperability effort, designed to identify "aspirational" yet "achievable" interoperability goals for the industry to rally around over the next decade.
The new initiative, dubbed "Health Interoperability Outcomes 2030," comes on the heels of ONC's decision last week to sunset a 10-year interoperability roadmap that the agency launched in 2015. At the time, ONC officials said that while the industry had made "solid progress" on many of the roadmap's milestones, "the roadmap itself no longer drives our work."
In a blog post Thursday, ONC deputy national coordinator Steve Posnack wrote that while ONC programs like the interoperability roadmap and federal health IT strategic plans, as well as interoperability regulations mandated by Congress in the 21st Century Cures Act, have been the "driving force" behind ONC's work over the last five years, there's room for new future-facing work.
The Health Interoperability Outcomes 2030 effort will pinpoint goals aligned with the 2020-2025 version of ONC's federal health IT strategic plan.
ONC plans to publish the 2030 goals this fall.
"We're at the start of a new decade, we're at the start of a new administration, and we have a pretty good view of the pieces that are falling into place over the next couple of years," Posnack said Thursday while announcing the effort at a monthly meeting of the Health IT Advisory Committee. "We intend to publish a prioritized set of interoperability outcomes for 2030."
HITAC is a federal advisory committee that gives policy recommendations to ONC.
ONC will accept submissions for goals through July 30. The agency suggests framing them as, "Because of interoperability, ______ before/by 2030" or "Because of interoperability, before/by 2030 (who) will (what)." As an example, Posnack in his blog post suggested "because of interoperability, faxes are no longer used in clinical care before/by 2030."
Interoperability outcomes should include a way to measure progress, according to ONC.
Having a set of goals to reach by 2030 will ideally help ONC and the industry better coordinate to meet such outcomes, according to Posnack.
"When we know with certainty what we want to accomplish, what outcomes we seek to achieve, it frees us up to be a bit more creative about how we get there," Posnack wrote.