Health IT will play a role in advancing the National Prevention Strategy, which HHS released last week to provide a framework for federal agencies to consider preventive health care when making decisions, InformationWeek reports (Lewis, InformationWeek, 6/21).
The strategy was drafted by the National Prevention Council, which includes representatives from 17 federal agencies, all of whom have committed to emphasizing prevention in their day-to-day decisions (Norman, CQ HealthBeat, 6/16).
It focuses on preventing substance misuse and violence and promoting healthy eating, physical activity, reproductive health, and mental and emotional well-being (Baker, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 6/16).
Health IT-Related Recommendations
The National Prevention Strategy calls for health care organizations to increase access to health IT and integrated data systems to foster information exchange. It states, "Integrating key data systems can also help streamline eligibility requirements and expedite enrollment to facilitate access to health and social services."
According to the strategy, the use of certified electronic health records and decision support tools can help identify evidence-based preventive services tailored to an individual patient. The report also notes that EHRs, electronic prescribing systems and telemedicine tools can improve care coordination, reduce duplication and boost efficiency. However, it adds that achieving the benefits of health IT relies on having sufficient privacy and security protections in place.
In addition, the strategy cites social media as a tool to empower patients by facilitating conversations about health-related issues. It notes that other communication methods -- such as mobile phone applications, personal health records and health-related websites -- can be used to supplement traditional forms of patient communication.
The report also suggests that improving the collection and standardization of population health data will "improve our ability to identify and target efforts to address health disparities" (InformationWeek, 6/21).