A Healthy Blog

Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

E-Health On The Move

E-Health On The Move

February 7, 2009

HCFA's Consumer Network for Healthcare e-Quality Luncheon Series Friday featured a presentation by Jerilyn Heinold and Diane Stone, Directors of two HISPC (Health Information Security and Privacy Collaborative) projects, a joint effort of the federal government and state groups working to move health information technology forward in a thoughtful, consumer-centric way.

The presentation for this meeting, "HISPC Multi-State Consumer Education & Engagement Collaborative" (click here for presentation summary), covered the many areas, including a self-directed tutorial, FAQs, legal inventory and consumer/provider information sheets, video documentary, and PHR (personal health record) and consumer guidelines that this eight-state collaboration developed. This painstaking work involved a careful crafting of consumer-accessible, legally accurate documents.

When these projects are completed, HCFA will make them available to you, as they will surely help consumers get a handle on this compelling, yet complicated and complex topic.

Meanwhile, Health Care For All, along with a wide range of national consumer advocacy organizations - from AARP and the AFL-CIO to the National Congress of American Indians and the Pacific Business Group on Health - signed on to a letter drafted by the National Partnership for Women and Families to US Senators Stabenow and Kennedy supporting an amendment to address health disparities through electronic health records. As an amendment to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the economic stimulus bill), its purpose is ". . . to ensure that, as we move toward an electronic health care system, we build that system in a way that will help us reduce disparities by providing for the capacity to collect standardized data on race, ethnicity, primary language, and gender."

We're hoping that when the dust settles and final recovery bill is enacted, it includes this vital provision.

Clearly, e-health is on everyone's minds, and if implemented well, it can be used to improve health outcomes in many spheres.
Lisa Fenichel