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National Health IT Collaborative for the Underserved Launches New Website to Fill the Void in Growing Health IT Industry

March 2, 2010

Contact: Latoya Thomas
(202) 371-0277, lthomas@shireinc.org

New Resource Highlights Education, Empowerment, and Advocacy as Core Focus of Health IT Adoption

Washington, DC – Today the National Health IT Collaborative for the Underserved (NHIT) launches their new website, www.nhitunderserved.org.  This is the first web tool of its kind to highlight the needs of underserved populations, with an emphasis on communities of color and those who care for them, while informing and empowering these stakeholders about the benefits and challenges of utilizing health information technology (HIT). 

With the help of federal dollars, including a $787 billion investment from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), there has been a significant growth in the health IT industry making available incentives for healthcare providers and business opportunities to IT software and systems developers.  Despite the wave of optimism that has been created by this moving train, there is a prevailing gap in the efforts to provide education and awareness to the communities on the receiving end of these systems.  Health disparate and underserved populations, and sometimes those who care for them, are overlooked as they rarely have the resources or tools to effectively understand and navigate the true benefits and challenges of adopting and implementing HIT.  Resulting in that age old question:  What's in it for me? 

NHIT Management Committee Chair and Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Office of Minority Health, Dr. Garth Graham commented that, "Health IT adoption is an important step in addressing the ever increasing digital and health disparity among the underserved including ethnic and racial populations. The National Health IT Collaborative for the Underserved is fully engaged to ensure that no community is left behind, and that all underserved communities and those who care for them truly benefit from health IT in a meaningful way. We hope that consumers, providers, and community and health advocates feel engaged and empowered as they use our site."  The new NHIT website provides unlimited access and easy navigation for these underserved populations and the general public to innovative policies, programs, and research efforts regarding HIT which impact the health and wellness of their families and communities.  Specifically, there are sections of the website which highlight current public policies that affect HIT, and encourage individual and community advocacy to ensure access and meaningful adoption.  Additional sections of the website place emphasis on opportunities and shortfalls in Health IT workforce development and training, and resources developed to fund and sustain Health IT in underserved communities and among those who care for them. 

"This website and our social media features such as the blog and Twitter, are the Collaborative's way of using emerging IT tools to facilitate the issue of Health IT in underserved populations among the many communities that are "e-enabling" the healthcare environment, while also attempting to inform and close the digital and health gaps among those unaware of these available resources," said Neal Neuberger, NHIT Management Committee Member/Policy Workgroup Chair and Executive Director of the HIMSS Foundation's Institute for E-health Policy.  "Further, we hope that this website and all of our resources will serve as a tool to help our populations of focus and the general public, take the necessary steps in improving their health by buying into the benefits of HIT."

All of the tools found on the new website are provided with the intent of empowering our populations of focus to be aware of and benefit fully from HIT applications and methods already in use and on the horizon, such as electronic health record (EHRs), e-prescribing, personal health records (PHRs), health information exchanges (HIEs), telemedicine, and everyday tools such as pedometers.   In addition to this website, NHIT is also creating a forum for community engagement around the area of Health IT by inviting all stakeholders to follow our message through our new social media applications, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and the NHIT Blog

If you would like more information regarding health disparities or health information technology among underserved populations and those who care for them, or to set up an interview with a member of the Collaborative, please email Latoya Thomas, lthomas@shireinc.org.

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The National Health IT Collaborative for the Underserved (NHIT) was established in June 2008 as a community of public/private partners committed to leveraging advances in health information technology (HIT) to reduce and ultimately eliminate health disparities experienced by underserved populations, with an emphasis on communities of color.  NHIT supports the full engagement of HIT in underserved populations, and among those who care for them, thus ensuring that no community will be left behind.  Our public/private partnerships include the Office of Minority Health, Apptis, Association for Clinicians for the Underserved, HIMSS Foundation Institute for eHealth Policy, eHealth Initiative Foundation, Summit Health Institute for Research and Education, and the Health Policy Institute Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.  The Collaborative's focus includes HIT planning, adoption and utilization; education and outreach; workforce development and training; policy development and implementation; finance and sustainability; and research and evaluation.  For more information on the National Health IT Collaborative for the Underserved, please visit:  www.nhitunderserved.org.

Added Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010 by Latoya Thomas

Kaiser News

  • Health IT
  • Heath Disparity