The Role of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) is the U.S. government agency charged with coordinating public and private sector efforts to develop a nationwide health information technology (health IT) infrastructure that supports better health, better care, at lower cost.

ONC reaches out to consumers and other health care stakeholders to find out what consumers and product developers are most interested in and where the federal government can remove roadblocks that impede consumer engagement or product innovation. Based on gathered input, ONC developed a three-pronged strategy for consumer empowerment: ACCESS, ACTION, and ATTITUDES:

  • ACCESS refers to consumers’ ability to access their health information using health IT;
  • ACTION empowers consumers to use health IT to take action in managing their health and health care;
  • ATTITUDES involve shifting ways of thinking, so consumers feel comfortable asking for their health information and providers encourage their patients to use eHealth tools to manage their care.

ONC prioritized ACCESS in the belief that health information must flow freely in order to create the conditions that support development of new, innovative applications that will help consumers to find value in using their downloaded health information.

In addition, ONC and its federal partners are exploring several emerging issues as part of its strategy. You can learn about and discuss these issues on Planning Room.