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The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC or ONCHI) is at the forefront of the administration’s health IT efforts and is a resource to the entire health system to support the adoption of health information technology and the promotion of nationwide health information exchange to improve health care. ONC is organizationally located within the Office of the Secretary for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
ONC is the principal federal entity charged with coordination of nationwide efforts to implement and use the most advanced health information technology and the electronic exchange of health information. The position of National Coordinator was created in 2004, through an Executive Order, and legislatively mandated in the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009 (HITECH Act). ONC’s mission includes:
- Promoting development of a nationwide Health IT infrastructure that allows for electronic use and exchange of information that:
- Ensures secure and protected patient health information
- Improves health care quality
- Reduces health care costs
- Informs medical decisions at the time/place of care
- Includes meaningful public input in infrastructure development
- Improves coordination of care and information among hospitals, labs, physicians, etc.
- Improves public health activities and facilitates early identification/rapid response to public health emergencies
- Facilitates health and clinical research
- Promotes early detection, prevention, and management of chronic diseases
- Promotes a more effective marketplace
- Improves efforts to reduce health disparities
- Providing leadership in the development, recognition, and implementation of standards and the certification of Health IT products;
- Health IT policy coordination;
- Strategic planning for Health IT adoption and health information exchange; and
- Establishing governance for the Nationwide Health Information Network.