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ONC goes Hollywood to develop consumer engagement video

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT is going Hollywood, or at least contracting a California production company, to create a video to explain to the public the value of health IT and how individuals can engage with their providers.

The video is an example of ONC's expanded efforts to get consumers more involved in their health and health care and encourage them to raise the importance of electronic health records (EHRs) with their providers, according to an ONC official.  

ONC's strategy includes supporting a change in how consumers view themselves as receivers of health care. ONC wants consumers to feel empowered to request access to their information, take action with their data and work as part of a team with their providers, said Lygeia Ricciardi, senior advisor for consumer e-health at ONC.  

"A lot of what we're trying to do in shifting attitudes is to make things personal, not just sharing the facts but telling stories, putting the 'I in health IT'," she said Dec. 5 at the ONC Townhall Meeting on Consumer Engagement at the 2011 mHealth Summit.

ONC's website has tools and materials available for download that can assist consumers in managing their health in their daily life.

Among its strategies, ONC has brought together 250 healthcare, technology, consumer and other organizations so far to commit to educate and inspire individuals about why they should request their health information, she said. The participating organizations that also hold health data, such as health IT and exchange vendors, have pledged to make access easy for consumers, such as through Blue Button and the Direct Project.  

Blue Button, initially available just for veterans and Medicare beneficiaries, is a feature in electronic patient portals that lets individuals download their health information in simple ASCII format into a personal health record or other electronic media. Direct is secure email for point-to-point health information exchange.

Many consumers do not understand the importance of having access to their data or what they could do with it. Ricciardi said that ONC would develop messages to build awareness, such as through pictures or animation.

Some messages may be action oriented, such as "You should choose a provider who uses health IT. Why? It's convenient for you, and you'll get better quality, safer care."  Or, "Go get a copy of your health information. Why? So you can try to understand it and check to make sure no information is missing or wrong," she said.

The animated video that ONC has contracted for will have Spanish and English versions and last three to five minutes. Shorter versions will be targeted for YouTube and other channels, according to Ricciardi.

ONC also will tap an industry partner to run crowd-sourced video contests throughout 2012 to highlight personal experiences using health IT and mobile applications to manage their diabetes and other chronic conditions.

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