Health With a Capital H

Healthy People Embrace Technology

December 13, 2010

Contributed by Sarah Morris

We Support a Healthier Future - Healthy People 2020

"Please turn on your phones, use the hashtag #HP2020, and start tweeting!"

The man next to me diligently follows orders and tweets, "I'm at #HP2020 at GWU for Healthy People 2020 launch to hear Health goals for next 10 years." Kicking myself for not getting my free upgrade, I quickly hide my useless blue Samsung flip phone circa 2008.

Dr. Howard Koh, Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), excited about the role of information technology (IT) in Healthy People 2020, enthusiastically continues by highlighting the initiative's new aspects:

screenshot of the Healthy People Web site

Dr. Koh exits the stage and out comes Todd Park, Chief Technology Officer for HHS, with even more gusto. What's one of Fast Company's most creative people so excited about? Park quickly unveils the myHealthyPeople Application Developer Challenge. Mr. Park announces he and HHS are "challenging the world" to build the best software application (app) to "mobilize action" and aid public Health using Healthy People 2020 data and tools. The app is intended for Healthy People stakeholders-professionals, advocates, funders, and decision makers-to increase communication and information sharing and to encourage people to make better Health decisions.

There are prizes for the first-, second-, and third-place winners. Mr. Park encourages diverse teams of Health educators, public Health professionals, and software developers-not just techies-to participate in the challenge. Go register now.

What are the new goals?

With the big announcements out of the bag, we are reminded that we're at a public Health meeting. The focus of the launch discussion turns to the importance of disease prevention, Health promotion, and the community's role in improving public Health, and sharing the overarching goals of Healthy People 2020:

The meeting panelists and audience members emphasize the need for "multi-sector collaboration" and a "Health in all policies" approach to reaching all Americans; making conditions where we live, work, and play conducive to making healthy decisions; and involving schools, businesses, faith-based organizations, and colleges and universities to create a healthier nation.

Now what?

The sound of grumbling stomachs alarms the near conclusion of the launch and the need for the meeting's leaders to communicate the calls for action. The meeting would not be complete without an acronym-Mobilize, Assess, Plan, Implement, Track (MAP-IT)-the process for implementing Healthy People 2020 in your community. Meeting participants explain that using the MAP-IT framework and the new tools available will help move us closer to achieving Healthy People 2020 goals.

For visual learners, the video, Determinants of Health: A Framework for Reaching Healthy People 2020 Goals, illustrates ways Healthy People 2020 interventions can be implemented to improve Health outcomes.

To get involved, check out the Consortium & Partners and Stay Connected sections on the new Web site. Be a part of making Healthy People come alive for all Americans.

Disclosure: IQ Solutions supported the team in developing the new, more user-friendly Web site and continues to work with the team in its ongoing developments and communications.