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Nutrition Informatics Blog



Health IT Week: Consumer Health IT and More

Submitted By Kathleen Pellechia, RD

On Monday, September 16, I participated in the webcast version of the Consumer Health IT Summit, which was part of the 8th annual National Health IT Week celebration held in Washington, DC. Throughout the week, a variety of in-person and online presentations and discussions were held, focusing on the importance of national, system-wide adoption of health information technology (IT). The need for this technology is even more pressing in the wake of health care reform. According to the National Health IT Week Web site, more than 375 organizations participated this year (a 42% increase compared to 2012), which the U.S. Senate recognized by passing a Resolution declaring it National Health IT Week.

The Consumer Health IT Summit brought together a panel of speakers for presentations in the morning, followed by breakout networking sessions in the afternoon for those who attended on-site.

Some of the speakers included:

·   Farzad Mostashari, MD, ScM, national coordinator for Health IT, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), Dept of Health and Human Services (HHS)

·   Patrick Conway, MD, MSc, chief medical officer and director of the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), HHS

·   Karen L. Smith, MD, PA, family physician and member, Meaningful Use Vanguard Program

·   Robert Tagalicod, director of the Office of E-Health Standards and Services, CMS, HHS

·   Len Lichtenfeld, MD, deputy chief medical officer, American Cancer Society

The overviews, case studies, and examples presented left me with the following “take home” nuggets.


Patient/client engagement

This is essential. The users of the technology must find it helpful or they will not use it.

Health history

Patients and caregivers are overwhelmed by the burden of remembering their health history. They need one place (online) to access their medical information, and they want to access that information on a range of technological devices. See the Blue Button Movement.

The challenge concept

Challenge mobile and e-health developers to create tools to meet the needs of the health IT community. “Cloud sourcing” or more importantly “cloud brainstorming” is key to saving time and money. This challenge approach should not only happen at the federal level, but also in our own regional and local communities. We need to work together to adapt and enhance existing technology tools and systems.

What can we do?

As registered dietitians, we need to sit at the discussion table for consumer health IT. We are experts at providing consumers with tools and resources to encourage and establish healthy eating and active lifestyle behaviors. Take a few minutes out of your day to explore Watch webinars and videos that show best practices, and then bring these ideas to your employer. Challenge your organization to bring health IT to the forefront—one Web site, app, or text message at a time.

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