The HHS Strategic Plan 2022-2026 is now available!

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the HHS Strategic Plan (Plan) for fiscal years 2022-2026, which addresses the complex, multifaceted, and evolving issues of human services and health facing our nation. We look forward to moving the plan forward, including strategies to improve access, sharing, and use of electronic health information for patients, providers, payers, and other health care stakeholders.

The Plan aligns with the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan 2020-2025 and has a strong focus on supporting patient access to their data. At ONC, we are committed to supporting the ability of patients to securely access and manage their health information when and where they need it.

Note: -  my responses read full article about strategy aims able to enable individuals to access and interact with health data

Convenient access is here

We are all patients and there comes a time after every medical visit when you remember the questions you forgot to ask. I know this has happened to me many times, and it can be frustrating, leaving me on the phone with a busy medical office, or worse, waiting for my next appointment to get my questions answered. For me, it can be helpful to have access to real-time information like lab results so I can prepare questions and meaningfully participate in upcoming appointments or, in some cases, follow up via email or secure. messaging through a patient portal.

Patients like me across the country enjoy unprecedented access to their personal health information, like lab results, doctor's notes, and diagnostic information. A recent ONC data synthesis revealed that nearly all hospitals allow patients to view their information electronically using a patient portal! This is phenomenal growth from a decade ago, when only a quarter of hospitals offered this capability. Additionally, the data summary revealed that 70% of hospitals allow patients to access their health information through a mobile device or other software applications.

Our work in support of the HHS strategic plan will build on this progress as we continue to connect health care with health data through interoperable health informatics. The beauty of the availability of electronic health information is how it can help simplify our lives: faster access to information saves time and improves our overall care experience, as patients spend less time worrying about unanswered questions and more time to actively take care of your health. . Nearly 40% of people nationwide accessed a patient portal in 2020, an increase of 13 percentage points from 2014 (Individual Access and Use of Online Medical Records and Smartphone Health Apps, 2020). The same data note revealed that 85% of smartphone users who had downloaded a health app had used it at least once in the past year. Encouraging and empowering patients to understand their overall health profile allows them to take steps to improve it.

The best is yet to come

The ONC looks forward to advancing the goals of the HHS Strategic Plan and building on the progress made toward a more interoperable and secure health care system that works for everyone so that patients can continue to play a more active role in their health and health care.

I encourage everyone to review the Plan. We look forward to working with stakeholders as we advance HHS goals, and we hope you'll join us at our all-virtual ONC Annual Meeting sessions in April, where we'll continue our discussion on patient access.