eHealth Initiative releases communications tools, survey results
The eHealth Initiative Foundation (eHI) released last week research findings and a fully customizable set of communications tools designed to enhance consumer understanding of the benefits of health IT and health information exchange. As part of the InformationSTAT program, these public awareness tools can be used by state, regional and community initiatives to educate consumers about the benefits of secure electronic health information exchange. The eHI web-based tools and resources include downloadable public announcements for radio, print-ready artwork for advertisements and billboards, case examples, and brochures. The more than 30 resources made available include partnership development guides and customizable brochures and Powerpoint presentations which local sponsors can use to reach out to practicing clinicians and employers to engage them in health information exchange efforts across the country. Access to the InformationSTAT program materials are available free of charge through the eHI Connecting Communities Toolkit.

According to eHI's 2006 Survey of Health Information Exchange at the State, Regional and Community Levels, at least 165 health information exchange initiatives exist today in 49 states and the District of Columbia, and more than one half of the states are developing or implementing plans for exchanging information electronically to support improvements in health and healthcare, many stimulated by legislative mandates and executive orders. Most of these initiatives are in the early stages of development and are not yet operational. The communications tools are designed to support states and communities in the early planning stages as they reach out to the public in their regions, to raise awareness of why health information exchange is important, while highlighting safeguards that are in place to protect privacy and confidentiality of health information.