By Terri Ottosen, Consumer Health Coordinator, NN/LM, SE/A Region
If you are following developments on the national stage regarding patient engagement and consumer eHealth, you may have read recently about the Patient Engagement Framework. This framework is a model created to guide healthcare organizations in developing and strengthening their patient engagement strategies through the use of eHealth tools and resources. (http://www.nationalehealth.org/patient-engagement-framework) In collaboration, over 150 experts in healthcare, technology, and human behavior have produced this framework to assist organizations become more efficient and effective in their patient models of care. The collaboration is rooted in the idea of treating patients as partners in their care, rather than just passive customers.
The partnership behind all of this work and activity is the National eHealth Collaborative (NeHC). It is a public-private partnership focused on “secure and interoperable nationwide health information exchange to advance and improve health care.” (http://www.nationalehealth.org/about-national-ehealth-collaborative) The NeHC itself was established through a grant from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) to build on the accomplishments of the American Health Information Community, which is a federal advisory committee to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. There are a number of programs and more information on the NeHC website that describe how they work to educate, connect, and encourage healthcare stakeholders to efficiently use health information technology and health information exchange.
What this means for health science libraries and librarians, is that we can promote and educate the stakeholders in our organizations on these developments and serve as a source of information. One of the products from NeHC is the Consumer eHealth Readiness Tool (CeRT). This tool includes an extensive survey-based organizational assessment to ascertain an organization’s readiness to engage patients in their healthcare. The idea behind this tool and consumer engagement is that an engaged consumer is more likely to take care of themselves and their health, which improves health outcomes, cultivates customer loyalty, and increases their competitive advantage. There is a charge for this tool, but it may be very helpful to an organization seeking to strengthen the “providers’ ability to meet meaningful use incentive requirements and criteria important to new accountable care and other patient-centered programs.” (http://www.nationalehealth.org/cert)
We are going to hear much more about patient-centered care and patient engagement as we all move toward a more participatory form of health care provision. All health sciences librarians and consumer health librarians should be monitoring developments and become better informed about what is happening on the national stage. Being informed will help us provide assistance and information to our stakeholders. As customer satisfaction and quality healthcare become even more paramount, libraries can be an important partner in connecting providers and the public with quality information resources.
For more information, please contact Terri Ottosen at firstname.lastname@example.org.