National eHealth Collaborative Convenes Consumer Consortium on eHealth

The Consumer Consortium on eHealth is designed to serve as a collaborative forum for sharing best practices, initiatives, tools, resources, ideas, and experience related to effective consumer engagement on health IT. Consortium members will work together to identify obstacles to the adoption of eHealth, brainstorm solutions, and develop effective communication strategies to reach a national audience with messages about the benefits of health IT.

80 consumer, patient, and business representatives help to spur a new grassroots movement

WASHINGTON, DC (April 27, 2010) – National eHealth Collaborative (NeHC) yesterday convened 80 representatives of consumer-facing organizations ranging from patient advocates to government agencies for the inaugural meeting of the Consumer Consortium on eHealth. The Consortium is the first effort of its kind to organize a broad cross-section of stakeholders to develop and coordinate a program to actively encourage individuals to become more engaged in their health and healthcare through the use of health information technology (IT).

“Empowering consumer/patients through eHealth is the most obvious thing in the world,” said “e-Patient Dave” deBronkart. “The resources and support offered by my online cancer community have saved some patients’ lives, and add significantly to patients’ and families’ ability to participate in their care. It’s vital that more of us realize the value IT can have in helping us to take control of our health. I’m honored to be part of the founding of the Consumer Consortium on eHealth – it could spark a widespread movement to make possible the kind of REAL patient-centered care that we all deserve.”

The Consumer Consortium on eHealth is designed to serve as a collaborative forum for sharing best practices, initiatives, tools, resources, ideas, and experience related to effective consumer engagement on health IT. Consortium members will work together to identify obstacles to the adoption of eHealth, brainstorm solutions, and develop effective communication strategies to reach a national audience with messages about the benefits of health IT.

“Health IT can be a great tool for consumers to improve their health,” said Kate Berry, CEO of NeHC and Consumer Consortium on eHealth Steering Committee Co-Chair. “The NeHC Board and executive leadership are excited to be convening the Consumer Consortium on eHealth as an effort to actively encourage the American public to recognize and incorporate into their daily lives the health IT tools and resources that exist to aid them in proactively engaging in their health.”

The Consumer Consortium on eHealth is led by a steering committee of 13 nationally known experts in health IT and consumer and patient advocacy:
Kate Berry, Chief Executive Officer, National eHealth Collaborative (Steering Committee Co-Chair)
Lygeia Riccardi, Senior Policy Advisor for Consumer e-Health, Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Steering Committee Co-Chair)
Alice Brown, Director, Health Information Technology, National Partnership for Women and Families
Steven Findlay, Senior Health Policy Analyst, Consumers Union
Nancy Davenport-Ennis, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, National Patient Advocate Foundation
Charles Parker, Executive Director, Continua Health Alliance
Michael Lardiere, Director, Health Information Technology and Senior Advisor, Behavioral Health, National Association of Community Health Centers
Joshua Rubin, Executive Director, Kanter Family Foundation
Joyce Dubow, Senior Health Care Reform Director, AARP
Jenifer Simpson, Senior Director for Government Affairs, American Association of People with Disabilities
Marcia Thomas-Brown, Chief Operating Officer, National Health IT Collaborative for the Underserved
Jim Hansen, Vice President & Executive Director, Dossia Consortium
e-Patient Dave DeBronkart, Cancer Survivor and Co-Chair, Society for Participatory Medicine

“This effort aligns exactly with the priorities of ONC as laid out in Goal IV of the new Federal Health IT Strategic Plan,” said Lygeia Ricciardi, Senior Policy Advisor for Consumer e-Health at ONC and Steering Committee Co-Chair. “The Consumer Consortium on eHealth will complement and support current efforts to engage consumers in eHealth and I am excited to see the results we can produce by bringing together such a diverse group of stakeholder representatives and organizations in pursuit of this single, important goal.”

During the inaugural meeting, Consortium members heard from Steering Committee members and other experts who discussed the critical need to broadly and inclusively engage directly with consumers as we experience a time of great interest, investment, and innovation in the health IT industry. Members also began to discuss steps for message development and methods for reaching key audiences. The Consortium will continue to convene over the coming months in the form of workgroups that will develop recommendations for next steps in messaging, communication, audience engagement, and best practices to be presented at the next full Consortium meeting in July 2011.

For more information or to sign up as a participating organization in the Consumer Consortium on eHealth, visit the NeHC website at http://nationalehealth.org/consumers.aspx.

About National eHealth Collaborative
National eHealth Collaborative (NeHC) is a public-private partnership that enables secure and interoperable nationwide health information exchange to advance health and improve health care. Working in conjunction with its partners, NeHC engages stakeholders in a collaborative and consensus-driven way to realize common goals that lead to transformative change. NeHC reaches broadly into all sectors of healthcare and health IT, employs open and inclusive methods, and makes its outcomes broadly available for continued improvement. This philosophy and approach allows NeHC to offer a uniquely balanced perspective that leverages diverse points of view and provides the essential public-private platform for collaboratively pursuing solutions to universal trusted and effective health information exchange. NeHC is a cooperative agreement partner of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).