HHS National Plan to Improve Health Literacy – Not Going To Happen Until We Focus on Using Technology (The Tool for Litera
Posted Jun 01 2010 5:22pm
Here we go one more time for one of my “favorite” rants (grin). Nobody takes this seriously as we have no role models as we don’t see anyone at top levels, with the exception of President Obama using any technology, look how much press his use of a BlackBerry received a while back. Now there’s role model and you can find pictures galore on the web.
Now to make this point further, I looked around the web and do you think I could find a picture with Kathleen Sebelius with a computer – not at all. I looked and couldn’t even find a picture with her with a cell phone! Does she use technology?
I looked around for the same with Joe Biden, no picture with a computer or cell phone anywhere in sight. Do these folks use a cell phone or a computer? You know I just wonder how all these fabulous reports of knowing what plans and programs are needed can come from those who seem to hide out, at least in the media from promoting any health IT, how do they know what’s best?
Ok I have picked on 2 people here, but it goes way beyond this all through Congress too – we have no role models. About a year ago when I sat and listened to the Senate testimonies about healthcare reform and stimulus money my mouth about his the floor listening to a bunch of senators that had never seen an electronic medical record and knew nothing about a personal health record and I hope a year later some of that has changed.
We have a bunch of what I call the “non participants” that over and over again keep talking about the fact that it is “for those guys over there”. This is a big reason why we have such distrust today with the American public and why they wonder “if those folks up there really know what they are doing and what’s going on”.
It’s just really more effective to lay out such plans if you begin to “practice what you preach” and gee there’s a lot more positives that come along for the ride when you do that as well. Using technology is how people get educated and move forward, look at China who almost has more English speaking citizens than we have in the US, why, because they learned English by using the internet. If you want to motivate people you need to get out there and roll up your sleeves. One of my favorite pilots to talk about unfortunately is the PHR from CMS with the 4 vendors to help seniors, going nowhere in a hurry, no role models here.
Long and short of all of this is that we have government officials that live in “tech denial” and don’t participate, so we get “Magpie” healthcare, repeating the same things over and over with no real results and little progress. Public officials take notice, your lack of computer literacy is showing big time today and you can definitely fix that if you want things to move along faster and be the role models everyone is looking for out there and not the magpies. BD
Today, the United States Department of Health and Human Services released The National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy aimed at making health information and services easier to understand and use. The plan calls for improving the jargon-filled language, dense writing, and complex explanations that often fill patient handouts, medical forms, health web sites, and recommendations to the public.
According to the report, efforts to improve the health literacy skills of both the public and health professionals are needed to achieve a health literate society—a critical need as health reform generates more demand for consumer and patient information that is easy-to-understand and culturally and linguistically appropriate.
According to research from the U.S. Department of Education, only 12 percent of English-speaking adults in the United States have proficient health literacy skills. The overwhelming majority of adults have difficulty understanding and using everyday health information that comes from many sources, including the media, web sites, nutrition and medicine labels, and health professionals.
“Health literacy is needed to make health reform a reality,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “Without health information that makes sense to them, people can’t access cost effective, safe, and high quality health services. But, HHS can’t do it alone,” she added. “We need payers and providers of health care services to communicate clearly and make the necessary changes to improve their communication with consumers, patients, and beneficiaries. Today’s plan is only the beginning of a long-term process with our many partners in all sectors that we hope will result in a society that encourages people to live longer, healthier lives.”
The action plan contains seven goals, each with specific strategies for different sectors of the health system, such as payers, the media, government agencies, and health care professionals, to improve health literacy. These goals emphasize the importance of creating health and safety information that is accurate, accessible, and actionable.
This report contains seven goals that will improve health literacy and suggests strategies for achieving them:
Develop and disseminate health and safety information that is accurate, accessible, and actionable
Promote changes in the health care system that improve health information, communication, informed decision-making, and access to health services
Incorporate accurate, standards-based, and developmentally appropriate health and science information and curricula in child care and education through the university level
Support and expand local efforts to provide adult education, English language instruction, and culturally and linguistically appropriate health information services in the community
Build partnerships, develop guidance, and change policies
Increase basic research and the development, implementation, and evaluation of practices and interventions to improve health literacy
Increase the dissemination and use of evidence-based health literacy practices and interventions