Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Consumer Health IT Summit - Government as Catalyst

Kicking off National Health IT Week the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in conjunction with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) hosted the second Consumer Health IT Summit on Monday, September 10, 2012. The Summit was geared towards individuals who are trying to advance consumer access to health information and brought together government leaders with leaders in the private and non-profit sectors. It was a great event and certainly brought into focus the critical importance of patients being involved in their care and having access and control of their own health data.

Dr. Farzad Mostashari, National Coordinator for Health IT, ONC, and Lygeia Ricciardi, Acting Director, Office of Consumer eHealth, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, HHS, discussed some their strategies for engaging customers. Lygeia highlighted three primary elements of this strategy:
  • Access: getting information into the hands of patients and caregivers;
  • Action: engaging consumers to actually use the information in an effort to improve health
  • Attitudes: how access and action can shift attitudes about the traditional roles of patients and providers
Farzad gave a rousing call to action to let the developer help. He encouraged programmers and developers, entrepreneurs and innovators to join in the effort to empower patients to be more engaged partners in care. They also announced the winner of the "What's In Your Health Record" video challenge which went to Mark's Story, which talked about the importance of having access to health records when travelling.

[UPDATE] Lygeia also mentioned the establishment of Consumer/Patient Engagement Workgroups for both the HITPC and HITSC to focus on policy and standards issues related to strengthening the ability of consumers, patients, and lay caregivers to manage health and healthcare for themselves or others.  ONC is pushing forward in this area on multiple fronts, and they will be seeking input from the advisory committees. They'll be putting out an announcement in a few weeks, and inviting people who would like to be on one of the workgroups to submit their information online.

Peter Levin, Chief Technology Officer, Department of Veterans Affairs and Farzad discussed the Blue Button project - progress so far and what lies ahead. Then Todd Park, U.S. Chief Technology Officer announced announced the first class of “Presidential Innovation Fellows” and the selection of the Fellows who will be working on Blue Button for America. He also quotes my friend Leonard Kish who said that "Patient Engagement is the Blockbuster Drug of the Century."

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