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Created

February 2, 2011

Health IT in Public vs. Private sectors: Blurring the Line with Consumer Engagement

 

As a citizen, I am excited about Open Government initiatives and all the possibilities they offer.  Many government agencies have recently made significant advances toward promoting transparency as well as simplifying access to personalized health information. With initiatives like the Blue Button Challenge at the Department of Veterans Affairs and CMS, federal and state agencies alike have taken the lead in many cases to demonstrate the power of delivering meaningful experiences for the people they serve.

As a private consumer of insurance and other health services, I have multiple options for where I choose to do business. Therefore, I have come to expect that companies will earn my loyalty by offering intuitive and secure ways for me to interact with them and my health data, on my terms, so that I can get on with my life. Organizations like Northwestern Mutual understand that by providing me with consistent experiences regardless of my device or mode of communication, they are also simultaneously reducing their own costs and strengthening their competitive advantages.

However, I’m not the only one taking notice lately that there are valuable lessons to be learned and applied by leveraging successes in health IT between private and public sectors. Last month, I was invited to speak about those opportunities and challenges in a keynote address, along with Dr. Todd Park, Chief Technology Officer at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). We presented our perspectives from private industry as well as government, respectively, at the Board of Directors Meeting for the Pacific Business Group on Health (PBGH).

PBGH, the nation’s leading non-profit business coalition focused on health care, collaborates with health payers, providers, consumer organizations, and others to improve the quality and affordability of health care. Representatives from the impressive list of PBGH member companies who attended the Board of Directors meeting were interested in providing their stakeholders with meaningful solutions to better manage their health care and make informed health decisions. So they were engaged as we delivered our keynote presentations.

Dr. Todd Park provided insight into a series of innovative health IT initiatives at HHS that he collectively refers to as “Data Liberacion” and he helped the audience appreciate what a world of greater health data utilization might look like. The goal of Data Liberacion is to unlock the value of repositories of health data and then to make it available to citizens throughout the new emerging healthcare ecosystem.

In turn, I highlighted the importance of knowledge dissemination for effectively leveraging technology solutions across the private and public sectors to securely present health data in a useable context. We all agree that at the end of the day it’s the consistent consumer experience, and the associated business results, that will continue to drive demand for the next generation of health data solutions.