Public eHealth Education

I am currently listening to a webcast of the Strategic Planning Working Group of the U.S. Health IT Policy Committee.   They are discussing feedback from various stakeholders received through various open processes (wish we had such open processes in Canada) including a listening session and a blog. The Working Group is identifying key themes gathered through the open comment process and is formulating a set of recommended changes to the draft U.S. healthcare IT strategic plan.  This transparent process makes it clear how input from various stakeholders (including the public) is addressed and impacts the strategic plan.

One of themes discussed during the working group meeting was the need to educate the public on the benefits of healthcare IT.  I have seen this same theme raised on several blogs and during a couple of meetings in which I have participated over the past few weeks.  A consensus seems to be forming that more work is required to raise awareness and visibility of healthcare IT and the role that it plays in the delivery of care and management of the health system.  This need is particularly acute, IMHO, in Canada, where eHealth is in danger of becoming a dirty word.

Do you feel that we need to spend time and effort educating the public about healthcareIT?  If so, which organizations are best positioned to take on this tasks?  Personally, I’d like to see both COACH, the Canada’s health informatics association, and ITAC Health, Canada’s heatlhcare IT vendor’s association, take active roles.  While they might not be the most appropriate organizations to lead such an initiative given their obvious biases, I believe that they have important perspectives and knowledge that is not possessed by any other group.

I have heard that Infoway is going to launch a public awareness campaign.  I do hope that that this campaign takes advantage of many different channels including social media. I also hope that they co-opt the insight and talents of many partners including but not limited to COACH and ITAC Health.  I say “hope” because very little information on Infoway’s plans has been released (an unfortunately typical situation where Infoway is involved).


2 responses to “Public eHealth Education

  1. André Boudreau

    I would add to the list: CIHI, PHAC, CIHR. In total the 3 orgns have over a 1.5 b$ in annual budgets. And the 3 rely heavily on eHealth. André.

  2. An interesting post Mike.

    I would argue that amongst the general population, eHealth is already a bad word that is equated to corruption and mismanagement. A sad comment, but likely to be closer to the truth than wishful thinking. Can this perception be changed, perhaps but as you pointed out it may require a number of different organizations working together to try and address it.

    I retain hope that CHI will “get” the concept of an open and transparent engagement strategy. My fear is they will see this as a PR exercise and not really embrace a two way conversation. I really don’t like being the glass half-empty guy, but I have yet to see much from them that is changing my opinion.


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