The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) recently finalized the first version of its interoperability roadmap, Connecting Health and Care for the Nation: A Shared Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap. The Roadmap describes the goals to be accomplished in order to reach nationwide interoperability by 2024.  The first goal, to be completed between 2015-2017, is to “send, receive, find and use priority data domains to improve health care quality and outcomes.” The second goal, to be completed between 2018-2020, is to “expand data sources and users in the interoperable health IT ecosystem to improve health and lower costs.”  The final goal, to be completed between 2021-2024, is to “achieve nationwide interoperability to enable a learning health system, with the person at the center of a system that can continuously improve care, public health, and science through real-time access.”

The Roadmap focuses on the milestones, action items and commitments necessary to achieve the 2017 goal.  These include organizations ensuring that health IT is developed and deployed in a secure manner, with encryption for all data at rest and in transit.  In addition, the ONC aspires for at least 65% of health care organizations to offer secure portals for patients to access their health information by 2017.  In furtherance of this milestone, the ONC intends to establish best practices for identity authentication.

In January, 2015, the ONC released a draft of the roadmap and requested public comment.  The final Roadmap incorporates comments from over 250 organizations.  Karen B. DeSalvo, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, stated that the Roadmap is “a living document, and we intend to evolve it in partnership with the public and private sectors as technology and policy require.”  The ONC expects to update the Roadmap every two years.