ONC plans to drop its Office of Consumer eHealth

The ONC is reportedly planning to close its Office of Consumer eHealth as HHS faces proposed budget cuts, Politico Morning eHealth newsletter reports.

The Office of Consumer eHealth is responsible carrying out ONC's patient engagement strategies. It is designed specifically to empower individuals to improve their health and healthcare experience through health IT.

Politico asked ONC chief Don Rucker, MD, how the agency will support patient engagement work if the consumer ehealth office is closed. He told the publication that reaching patients is a "complex business activity," and instead, his team is a "software-focused operation." He suggested ONC can try to encourage companies to interact with patients using the software tools backed by ONC.

"Do you really think ONC is better at convincing patients to access their data, or Apple, or Google, or any new startup that's going to come?" he said, according to Politico. "I think the answer to that is pretty clear."

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