By Nadine Robin, Health IT Program Director
I’ve been talking (and blogging and tweeting) about it for months, and now it’s live: Louisiana’s patient engagement campaign, “Your Health In Your Hands,” officially launched Aug. 1. You may have already begun seeing and hearing campaign messaging in your area, or perhaps you already connected with the campaign via Facebook or Twitter.
I’d like to point out that this messaging is focused on two key items: one, educating Louisiana’s patients and families about health IT and promoting its use; and two, encouraging those patients and families to talk to their health care providers about health IT.
Before we launched this campaign, we conducted a web-based survey to identify the existing health IT awareness level among Louisiana residents. What we learned was this:
68 percent of respondents do not have copies of their personal health records, and only 51 percent had ever requested copies.
90 percent of respondents were familiar with EHRs; 79 percent were familiar with patient portals; and 51 percent were familiar with health information exchange, yet only 40 percent use health IT to track their personal health information.
57 percent of respondents said that understanding the security measures around health IT would make them more likely to electronically access their information; 50 percent wanted to know more about the benefits of health IT; and 35 percent indicated that they would use health IT if their providers recommended it.
We also received a number of personalized responses in the survey. Health care consumers told us that they want their health information to be available electronically, and they want that technology to be easy to use.
These survey results tell us two things: our state’s health care consumers are interested in engaging in their care through health IT, and our health care providers can help drive this engagement by providing their patients with access to consumer-friendly tools and resources.
This campaign can help in both areas.
A cornerstone of “Your Health In Your Hands” is its website, a user-friendly, easy-to-understand repository of health and health IT-related information and resources. It features downloadable, printable guides about how and why to use patient portals, what an HIE does and the benefits of EHRs, among others. It provides patients with access to information about how to get copies of their health information and how to use that information to improve their health. It houses links to additional resources, FAQs and glossaries, all designed to help patients engage in their care.
And these are all resources and tools that can be used by health care providers as well.
As the state’s REC and HIE, we hear often from providers and health care organizations with patient engagement needs. We know that these providers not only want to meet Meaningful Use requirements related to patient engagement, but they also truly want their patients to engage in their health and health care. They know that patients who engage in their health and health care have better outcomes, and as providers, that’s their mission – to help their patients achieve better health.
So as we launch this campaign, we encourage and welcome our state’s health care providers, facilities, organizations and entities to join us in these efforts, to use the resources available and to help drive better health for Louisiana’s health care consumers.