Today, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Director Arati Prabhakar and Domestic Policy Adviser Neera Tanden issued the following statement in recognition of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT’s 20th anniversary:

“Twenty years ago, paper medical records primarily resided in manila folders that were rarely shared with patients, caregivers, or other health care providers, resulting in significant care gaps. Today, hundreds of millions of Americans can access their electronic medical records – including medications, vaccinations, and lab results – on their computer or phone. Thanks to efforts spearheaded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS’) Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), important digital health data is increasingly available when and where doctors and patients need it. Their work has improved patient care, advanced critical research efforts, and enabled dynamic public health responses.

“Since its creation on April 27, 2004, ONC has propelled the adoption and use of health information technology across the health care system. In 2009, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act was signed into law by President Obama, which authorized ONC and the Health IT Certification Program and provided incentives to eligible hospitals and providers to adopt and use electronic health records (EHRs). Today, virtually all hospitals and most office-based physicians around the country use ONC-certified health IT to access and exchange vital information about their patients. This is enabling health care providers to deliver better, more coordinated care while avoiding medical errors that can result from missing or incomplete medical data.

“The 21st Century Cures Act was signed into law in December 2016 under the Obama-Biden Administration, which expanded ONC’s role in health IT implementation. At the signing ceremony, then-Vice President Biden, a champion of the landmark legislation, said, ‘The 21st Century Cures Act is going to harness America’s best minds of science, medicine and technology to tackle some of our biggest and most complex health challenges of today.’ With these new authorities, ONC has delivered remarkable results for the American people.  The Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement, which went live in 2023, is making it easier for patients and their providers to find and access critical health information from different health care providers and settings.  The U.S. Core Data for Interoperability, a standardized set of data elements for EHRs, now includes standards that promote health equity and capture the diversity of the patient population. 

“By joining health care networks across the country, facilitating the rapid adoption of common technical standards for data exchange, and ensuring all Americans benefit from an EHR that includes the information needed to support their care, the Biden-Harris administration is making the health care system work for patients rather than the other way around.  On behalf of President Biden and the White House, I want to thank ONC and its hard-working staff for their tireless efforts to deliver the 21st century health care system Americans deserve. We look forward to seeing what ONC can accomplish in the next 20 years.”


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