The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has published a notice in the Federal Register asking for ideas from experts outside the healthcare industry to help improve and increase consumer use of personal health-record systems.
AHRQ wants other industries' ideas for health IT
The notice asks the White House Office of Management and Budget to approve an information-collection project called "Understanding development methods from other industries to improve the design of consumer health IT." The comment period on AHRQ's request closes March 28.
"New practices for the development of consumer-facing digital tools are emerging in a variety of industries," according to the notice. "The success of information management tools in other industries offers much to be learned and applied to the healthcare field."
Personal health records, according to the notice, hold "potential power," but "consumers have not adopted these technologies to the same degree that they have adopted technology products marketed from other consumer-product industries."
"One reason for slow adoption is that the marketplace lacks robust tools that allow for the complexity and diversity of personal health information management practices,” according to AHRQ. "These types of practices are influenced by a variety of user and contextual factors, including demographics, personal attitudes, the goals and objectives of users and the broad range of tasks that users wish to perform. There is no comprehensive list of problems that users encounter as they collect and reflect on personal information; this creates a barrier for design of consumer health IT tools.”
The genesis of the proposed project was a July 2009 AHRQ workshop, "Building bridges: Consumer needs and the design of health information technology." One recommendation in the final report from the workshop was to "investigate the application of design methodologies used in other industries to consumer health IT design."
The information collection project, which would include interviews with "experts in the design, management and/or marketing of consumer products that are relevant to consumer health IT products," will be conducted under contract with Westat, Rockville, Md., and the University of Wisconsin and is estimated to cost $409,388.
Information collected in the study will be presented in a final report and could be used to help develop recommendations for vendors who design, create and market consumer health IT products, according to the notice.
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