Extensive stakeholder feedback helped HHS produce their new “Healthy People 2020” document integrating input from public health, prevention experts, federal, state, and local governments, a consortium 2,000 organizations, and the public. More than 8,000 comments were considered in drafting the document. Some of the new topic areas in “Healthy People 2020” include healthcare-associated infections, preparedness, dementias, genomics, and global health.
“Leveraging information technology in the form of communication strategies and health IT, along with developing innovative approaches will help communities track their progress and improve health for all Americans”, according to Chief Technology Officer Todd Park.
During the coming decade, the speed, scope, and scale of health IT adoption will only increase. Social media and emerging technologies promise to blur the line between expert and peer health information. As a result, monitoring and assessing the impact of the new media including mobile health on public health will be challenging.
Both public and private institutions are increasingly using the internet and other technologies to streamline the delivery of health IT services. This will result in an even greater need for health professionals to develop additional skills in the understanding and use of consumer health information.
Continued feedback, productive interactions, and access to evidence on the effectiveness of treatments and interventions will likely transform the traditional patient-provider relationship. However, it will also change the way people receive, process, and evaluate health information.
Capturing the scope and impact of these changes and the role of health communications and health IT will require multidisciplinary models and data systems. These systems will be critical to expanding the collection of data to better understand the effects of health communications and health IT on the population, along with health outcomes, and data on healthcare quality and health disparities.
Lead points for studying the specific topic Health Communication and Health IT includes the HHS Office of the Secretary, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office of Public Health and Science, and the Office of the National Coordinator. CDC is also playing a lead role in this specific topic area.
Also at this time, HHS has launched a newly redesigned Healthy People website www.healthypeople.gov so users will be able to tailor information to their needs and explore evidence-based resources for implementation.