I just returned from a really outstanding 2 day session hosted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, on informing policy (as opposed to lobbying, which was not a focus of the session). I definitely went with PCHIT on my brain.
One of the thought exercises the facilitators asked us to engage in was, “What would your headline read?” That part was relatively easy for me. It was “Every patient in every health system now has access to their health information and health care team online.” This is a headline, which means it’s narrowly scoped. My professional purpose is a broader than that, as are those of this blog’s readers, of course (See a post on my own blog about this).
The part after that which was interesting was that I began gently shopping my headline around to the other health care leaders at the event with me. It was a little nemawashi, if you will. The responses were varied. Some felt that certain populations didn’t have enough computer access to warrant this investment. Some were very interested in the idea, but hadn’t conceptualized how it would improve care. Very few were already doing this in their practices. Others were excited by it right off the bat and didn’t even know that some organizations were already doing it.
We of course now have good information that many populations believed to be computer inaccessible are, and there were key issues that helped in understanding, like the need for accurate medication reconciliation, involving families in care, supporting a great inpatient care experience.
Besides learning what I learned about messaging and understanding policy, I also ended up conducting several mini-focus groups around the event about this issue. Initially, I felt that I was a bit ahead my time in this population of physician, nurse, and allied health leaders. After having more conversations, though, the message became more understandable to the people I spoke with. Everyone is interested in a high quality, affordable care system. The one thing I picked up with this group as well was that the work showed interest in supporting a health system that shows respect for patients, their families, and their communities. I think that is a great theme for this work, as well.
What would your headline read? Post it below!