NeHC to consumers: Take charge of your health

By Mary Mosquera
08:48 AM
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The Consumer Consortium on eHealth has launched from dozens of organizations that serve consumers in a variety of ways to encourage participation by individuals in their health care through the use of health information technology.

The National eHealth Collaborative, a public/private partnership that promotes secure health information exchange, brought together representatives from 65 consumer groups, patient advocates and government agencies to start sharing their most effective practices, communication strategies and tools to encourage consumers to become more involved in their health.

Groups included the National Partnership for Women and Families, AARP and the Medical Group Management Association.

Consumers need to be involved in the innovations and investments of health IT to improve the quality and coordination of health care, according to participants.

[Related: Do patients really use smartphone health apps?]

“Health IT can be a great tool for consumers to improve their health,” said Kate Berry, CEO of the National eHealth Collaborative and co-chair of the Consumer Consortium on eHealth steering committee, in an announcement April 27.

For example, “e-Patient Dave” deBronkart, a cancer survivor and co-chair of the Society for Participatory Medicine, said the services and resources of his online cancer community “add significantly to patients’ and families’ ability to participate in their care.”

The consumer effort lines up with priorities of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, such as in its Federal Health IT Strategic Plan, said Lygeia Ricciardi, ONC senior policy advisor for consumer e-Health. She is also co-chair of the consumer group’s steering committee.

ONC has also emphasized patient engagement in some of the draft measures for the second stage of meaningful use of electronic health records. And Dr. Farzad Mostashari, the national health IT coordinator, said recently that ONC under his leadership will “double down” in putting the patient front and center in its program and message.