Last week, the GAO presented testimony to a congressional subcommittee on the progress to date in implementing President Bush’s 2004 executive order laying out, in broad terms, a ten-year plan for HIT. The GAO noted that the federal government needs to take the lead on this initiative, as its health care budget accounts for over one-third of all health care expenditures nationally.
The progress is impressive, as is some of the planning. The HHS Office of the National Coordinator for HIT has developed and prioritized (with input from the public-private American Health Information Community) four overarching goals, and 32 strategies for achieving them. The first ten strategies are being addressed, in part, through the $46 million in contracts awarded last year. The four goals are: (1) Inform health professionals; (2) Interconnect health care; (3) Personalize health management and (4) Improve population health. The goals, objectives and strategies are laid out in greater detail here. They are identified as strategies already initiated, under active consideration, or requiring future discussion.
The GAO reiterated its recommendation made last year that in order to manage a ten-year initiative as large as this one, there must be clearly articulated plans for implementation, milestones, and measurement systems put in place.