Advancements in technology have enhanced connectivity and generated large amounts of data with the potential to improve health and health outcomes. However, these data were not designed for research and accessing and using them is a complicated process. To better understand the challenges researchers face when using health data, RTI International worked with the Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) to develop a Policy and Development Agenda to inform a set of National Health IT Priorities for Research. The Agenda outlines how the heath IT infrastructure can better meet the needs of the research community and what activities can support ensuring better quality data.
“Currently, there is a disconnect between clinical and research systems. The Agenda represents a key step forward in identifying the steps and infrastructure needed to bridge that gap,” said Alison Banger, health IT scientist at RTI who supported ONC’s creation of the Agenda.
The Agenda has two overarching goals: (1) to leverage high-quality electronic health data for research and (2) to advance a health IT infrastructure to support research. In addition to the goals, the Agenda outlines nine priority areas and associated calls to action to support each priority. Execution of the Agenda would support the pursuit of more complex research questions, the development of more rapid and reliable discoveries about health and health outcomes, and engagement of a wider, more representative population in research participation.