NeHC aims to engage consumer with health IT

By Healthcare IT News
04:21 PM

The National eHealth Collaborative (NeHC) on April 26 convened 80 representatives of consumer-facing organizations ranging from patient advocates to government agencies for the inaugural meeting of the Consumer Consortium on eHealth. The goal: To encourage individuals to become more engaged in health and healthcare throught the use of information technology.

[See also: NeHC releases stakeholder survey on HIE concerns.]

“Empowering consumer/patients through eHealth is the most obvious thing in the world,” said "e-Patient Dave" deBronkart. “The resources and support offered by my online cancer community have saved some patients' lives, and add significantly to patients' and families' ability to participate in their care. It's vital that more of us realize the value IT can have in helping us to take control of our health. I'm honored to be part of the founding of the Consumer Consortium on eHealth – it could spark a widespread movement to make possible the kind of real patient-centered care that we all deserve.”

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The Consumer Consortium on eHealth is designed to serve as a collaborative forum for sharing best practices, initiatives, tools, resources, ideas, and experience related to effective consumer engagement on health IT. Consortium members will work together to identify obstacles to the adoption of eHealth, brainstorm solutions, and develop effective communication strategies to reach a national audience with messages about the benefits of health IT.

“Health IT can be a great tool for consumers to improve their health,” said Kate Berry, CEO of NeHC and Consumer Consortium on eHealth Steering Committee Co-Chair. “The NeHC Board and executive leadership are excited to be convening the Consumer Consortium on eHealth as an effort to actively encourage the American public to recognize and incorporate into their daily lives the health IT tools and resources that exist to aid them in proactively engaging in their health.”

The Consumer Consortium on eHealth is led by a steering committee of 13 nationally known experts in health IT and consumer and patient advocacy:

  • Kate Berry, CEO, National eHealth Collaborative (Steering Committee Co-Chair)
  • Lygeia Riccardi, senior policy adviser for consumer e-Health, Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (steering committee co-chair)
  • Alice Brown, director, health information technology, National Partnership for Women and Families
  • Steven Findlay, senior health policy analyst, Consumers Union
  • Nancy Davenport-Ennis, founder and CEO, National Patient Advocate Foundation
  • Charles Parker, Executive Director, Continua Health Alliance
  • Michael Lardiere, director, health information technology and senior advisor, behavioral health, National Association of Community Health Centers
  • Joshua Rubin, executive director, Kanter Family Foundation
  • Joyce Dubow, senior health care reform director, AARP
  • Jenifer Simpson, senior director for government affairs, American Association of People with Disabilities
  • Marcia Thomas-Brown, chief operating officer, National Health IT Collaborative for the Underserved
  • Jim Hansen, vice president and executive director, Dossia Consortium
  • e-Patient Dave DeBronkart, cancer survivor and co-chair, Society for Participatory Medicine

[See also: National eHealth Collaborative elects new board members.]

“This effort aligns exactly with the priorities of ONC as laid out in Goal IV of the new Federal Health IT Strategic Plan,” said Lygeia Ricciardi, senior policy adviser for consumer e-Health at ONC and steering committee co-chair. “The Consumer Consortium on eHealth will complement and support current efforts to engage consumers in eHealth and I am excited to see the results we can produce by bringing together such a diverse group of stakeholder representatives and organizations in pursuit of this single, important goal.”

During the inaugural meeting, consortium members heard from steering committee members and other experts who discussed the critical need to broadly and inclusively engage directly with consumers as we experience a time of great interest, investment, and innovation in the health IT industry. Members also began to discuss steps for message development and methods for reaching key audiences.

The consortium will continue to convene over the coming months in the form of workgroups that will develop recommendations for next steps in messaging, communication, audience engagement, and best practices to be presented at the next full Consortium meeting in July 2011.

For more information or to sign up as a participating organization in the Consumer Consortium on eHealth, visit the NeHC website.

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