The $87M push that could make or break our public health data system

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Since its inception in 2004, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has delivered outsized results for its size. This subdivision of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has a budget of around $60 million and a team of approximately 150 people — small by federal standards — to accomplish the large task of “Improv(ing) the health and well-being of individuals and communities through the use of technology and health information that is accessible when and where it matters most.”

Each generation of ONC leaders has smartly focused the agency on a few pressing priorities. In its first phase, ONC laid the blueprint for nationwide information sharing. Then ONC guided the rapid adoption of electronic health records by nearly all hospitals and most physicians across the U.S. More recently, ONC has championed breaking up information silos through new application programming interface (API)…

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