The proliferation of consumer-facing technology and personal health information technology has grown steadily over the past decade, and has certainly exploded over the past several years. As Bernard Rosof, chief executive officer of the Quality in Healthcare Advisory Group, noted in his introductory remarks to the workshop, many people have embraced smartphones and wearable health-monitoring devices to track their fitness and personal health information. Providers have made it easier for patients and caregivers to access health records and communicate through online patient portals. However, he added, the large volume of health-related information that these devices can generate and input into a health record can also lead to an increased amount of confusion on the part of users and caregivers.
A recent opinion piece in The New York Times (Wachter, 2015) spoke of the productivity paradox of information technology and the lag between the adoption of technology and the realization of technology gains. This article cited the lack of user-centered design for most health care software as one reason for that paradox. It called for better collaboration between academic researchers and software developers, but it also asked what Rosof considered an important question: What would be an ideal future? The
1 The planning committee’s role was limited to planning the workshop, and this summary has been prepared by the workshop rapporteur as a factual summary of what occurred at the workshop. Statements, recommendations, and opinions expressed are those of individual presenters and participants, and are not necessarily endorsed or verified by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), nor should they be construed as reflecting any group consensus.
article’s author answers that the ideal future will have a technology that physicians suddenly cannot live without. Rosof amended this slightly to include patients and the health care team on the list of those who cannot live without a particular technology.
The goal of this workshop was to explore health literate practices in health information technology and then provide and consider the ramifications of this rapidly growing field on the health literacy of users.2Box 1-1 describes the workshop Statement of Task.
The workshop (see Appendix A for the agenda) was organized by an independent planning committee in accordance with the procedures of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The planning committee’s members were Suzanne Bakken, roundtable member and alumni professor of nursing and professor of biomedical informatics at the Columbia University School of Nursing; Gillian Christie, health innovation analyst at The Vitality Institute; Garth Graham, roundtable member and president of the Aetna Foundation; Linda Harris, roundtable member and director of the division of health communication and eHealth in the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS); Pamela Jeffries, vice provost for digital initiatives at Johns Hopkins University; Andrew Pleasant, roundtable member and senior director for health literacy and research at the Canyon Ranch Institute; and Ted Vickey, founder and president of FitWell, Inc.
This publication summarizes the discussions that occurred throughout the workshop, highlighting the lessons presented, practical strategies, and the needs and opportunities for improving health literacy in consumer-facing technology. Chapter 2 provides an overview of consumer-facing technology and the issues involved in creating, deploying, and adopting such technologies. Chapter 3 discusses health literate digital design and some of the strategies for creating health literate apps and patient portals that the federal government and other health organizations are using. Chapter 4 recounts the wide-ranging presentations and discussions centering on ways of catalyzing widespread informed engagement of both consumers and health care professionals in the effort to develop and use health literate consumer-facing technologies. Chapter 5 describes some of the efforts underway to use consumer-facing technologies with selected populations of
2 The workshop did not include information about issues regarding access to and use of digital technology by socioeconomic status nor did it include information about the objective value of consumer-generated data.
An ad hoc committee will plan and conduct a public workshop on health literacy, new technology, and health. The workshop will feature invited presentations and discussions. The topics may include health literacy and the use of technology (e.g., social media) to inform health decision making, sharing health information via technology, or examples of health literacy best practices as they apply to the use of technology for health decisions. The committee will define the specific topics to be addressed, develop the agenda, select and invite speakers and other participants, and moderate the discussions. An individually authored summary of the presentations and discussions at the workshop will be prepared by a designated rapporteur in accordance with institutional guidelines.
Americans as a means of reducing health disparities. Chapter 6 covers the roundtable’s reflections on the lessons learned at this workshop.
In accordance with the policies of the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the workshop did not attempt to establish any conclusions or recommendations about needs and future directions, focusing instead on issues identified by the speakers and workshop participants. In addition, the organizing committee’s role was limited to planning the workshop. The workshop summary has been prepared by the workshop rapporteur as a factual summary of what occurred at the workshop.