April 09, 2020

ACR Comments on Draft Federal Health IT Strategic Plan

In comments filed March 27, 2020, the American College of Radiology® (ACR®) asked the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health IT for more emphasis on collaborations between federal agencies and stakeholders for health informational technology (IT) and artificial intelligence initiatives covered in its draft 20202025 Federal Health IT Strategic Plan.

The plan is a non-regulatory, informational resource for federal agencies involved with health IT policy, research or implementation. It broadly discusses a strategic framework and corresponding objectives for prioritizing health IT policies and initiatives over the next five years. The document was originally published in 2008 and was later mandated by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, to be updated every five years.

The ACR generally supported the ONC’s draft version of the plan in its comment letter, but it recommended that federal agencies consider three recommendations during finalization and implementation of the document:

  • Federal agencies should work with the private sector on the goal of modernizing medical imaging-sharing in accordance with radiology’s “Ditch the Disk” initiative,
  • Federal agencies should partner with trusted third parties to ensure the clinical utility, safety, and performance of artificial intelligence innovations, and
  • Federal agencies should empower collaborations between providers and developers in need of useful data to support innovation.

Moving forward, the ONC will work with federal agency partners to finalize the strategic plan. At this writing, it is unclear if the COVID-19 pandemic will require extensive modifications in the final version. However, the plan is a non-binding policy document, and agencies have historically deviated from its framework as needed.