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Running head: HEALTH COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES AND HEALTH 1 INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY Impact of Health Communication and Health Information Technology on Population Health Table of Contents Abstract .......................................................................................................................................... 3 Relation to CPT……………………………………………………………………………………4 Chapter One: Introduction and Background Information ............................................................... 5 Problem Statement ...................................................................................................................... 9 HEALTH COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION 2 TECHNOLOGY Justification ............................................................................................................................... 10 Chapter Two: Literature Review .................................................................................................. 12 Conclusion ………………………………………………………………………………………20 Abstract This paper provides more intuition on how health consultation approaches and health information technology can be used to influence health superiority and well-being and public health optimistically, as well as further health evenhandedness. The paper has identified with the problem of limited health literacy which is a major concern in the health sector. Limited health literacy has contributed to a lot of medical errors and as a result poor health outcomes. This paper provides information of the fundamentals of health quality and health equity. Health communication and health IT are essential elements of improving health quality and equity. HEALTH COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION 3 TECHNOLOGY Integrating health communication strategies and health IT is something that will transform the health sectors. It creates an opportunity to drive the health sector into an era of patient and public oriented medical care and services. The principal part of this paper is the overview and the circumstantial study of health information know-how and health communication progressions and their impacts on health care characteristic and health equality. The second part includes the literature review of previous articles on how health communication processes and health IT have been used to improve health literacy as a means of improving health care quality. Part three will encompass the proposed actions and steps in formulating an effective health literacy action plan and finally the conclusions. Relation to CPT My CPT is with American Medical Organization, serving as an occupational health and safety specialist. My job specifications and responsibilities relate with inspection of workplaces in a health care setting to ensure they are in compliance with the safety standards, health and environmental regulation. Another significant role is devising programs for disease prevention, and minimizing risks of injuries to employees and reducing harm done to the environment through unsafe practices. HEALTH COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION 4 TECHNOLOGY The acmes of this research paper are ascertaining the responsibilities health communication processes and health IT in enlightening the peoples’ health aftermaths and health care value. The paper identifies the problem of poor health literacy and shows how it has negatively impacted the health sector. Furthermore, it has attempts to propose solutions to this problem through a health literacy action plan. A review of various articles of the implications of health communication processes and health IT has also been done to determine where other studies stand concerning the prevalence of our problem. This research paper assists in determining how health communication strategies and health IT can be used to solve poor health literacy and as a result improve the healthcare outcomes. My research relates to my occupation in that, it focuses on improving the health outcomes in society. Occupational health and safety specialist’s work strive to eliminate chances of future hazards through determining how accidents occurred initially and deriving preventive measures. This paper will assist me in determining how the health care setting can be improved both for the sake of improving the health working environment. With the help of my past knowledge in this occupation l will be enabled to focus on policies that are concerned in improving the wellbeing of health workers, patients which in turn will improve the way they handle patients and the ultimate goal is improved health care quality and public health outcomes for all. Introduction Health communication strategies and health information technology can be used to better population health outcomes, the quality of health care and to facilitate health equity. Health communication and health information technology are essential factors influencing health care, HEALTH COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY 5 population health and how the society understands the medical care (In Nelson, 2013). These aspects determine how people use health information and hence, they have a significant impact on the decisions made by individuals pertaining health care. Programs such as the Healthy people 2020 has acknowledged this prospect being portrayed by health communication stratagems and health information technology, to the degree that it has made this amongst its chief intents. That is improving health care quality and attaining health equity through use of health information technology and health communication strategies. For long people have raised concerns about health equity and health quality in the health sector. This paper is therefore relevant to important stakeholders in the health sectors and scholars in the field of medical care. Health communication strategies and health information technology serves a significant role in impacting health care positively. Here are the some approaches the health communication approaches and information technology are being operated to value make over health care quality and health equity. 1. Providing support for collaborative decision making between patients and health practitioners. 2. Offering personalized tools and resources for purposes of self-management 3. Establishing social support networks 4. Facilitating accuracy, accessibility and reliability of health information 5. Enhancing the role of health information technology and promoting health information exchange among health care providers and professionals 6. Facilitating swift and informed responses to health risks and emergencies related with public health HEALTH COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY 6 7. Improving the health literacy skills 8. Provision of new opportunities to enrich the link between health care and culturally diverse and marginalized populations 9. Establishment of sound health principles and policies in designing health programs that lead to healthier practices 10. Improving inherent and mobile access of health care services Integrating health communication strategies and health IT is something that will transform the health sectors. It stands to drive the health sector into an era of patient and public oriented medical care and services. Health IT tools need to be combined effectively with the appropriate health communication strategies. This will facilitate: the heightening of health care condition and wellbeing, progress the productivity of medical care and civic health service delivery, aptitude of care financial support including the civic and at household, better customer and quantifiable evaluation making, expand public health data interchange and substructure and the fortification of health skills and comprehension. It is important to note that errors emerge in health care and stands to cause harm to many individuals in need or health care each year thus increasing the rate of hospitalization. As if this is not enough, it costs the health sector extra billions of dollars. The public has a right to receive unsurpassed health care services. Hence, this research is concerned with bettering health literacy as a means of improving patient safety, health quality and health equity in a health care setting. It addresses the need for better communication between health care practitioners and their patients such that there can be HEALTH COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY 7 heightened support for informed patient engagement and improved health outcomes (In Nelson, 2013). Each individual has a role to play in managing their personal health and the health status of their loved ones. However, health information and medical care settings are becoming complex to the extent that it is hinders the delivery of health care services. As a result, people require adequate information, proper skills and supporting relationships to enable them meet their medical needs. There are disparities being encountered in the way people access health information, medical services and health IT. This has led to a decline in the use of preventive services, poor knowledge of how chronic diseases can be managed, increased rate of hospitalization and deteriorated public health outcomes. The increased use of the internet and other health technologies has enabled many public and private medical institutions reorganize the way health information and medical care services are delivered. This has led to an increased need for developing additional skills and information by health practitioners and professionals to facilitate a better understanding and application of consumer health information (Postal, 2013). Increased online health information and medical services has also presented challenges to users and consumers of such information. It has contributed to limited literacy skills as far as internet usage in concerned. Some consumers of health information find the internet as overwhelming and sometimes inaccessible. Turning to a user centered design can assist in improving the quality and safety of health care and promoting health equity. It is important to consider the portion of non-web consumers of health information. This calls for the need for establishing effective health HEALTH COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION 8 TECHNOLOGY communication processes to enable this group of people acquire and comprehend health information in order to make the appropriate decisions. Such communication may encompass, usage of printed material, community outreach strategies, media campaigns and interpersonal communication initiatives. The encounter in front of us is how health specialists and physicians as well as the civic can be aided to acclimatize and retort to the improvements in health information technology and health communication stratagems to uphold health care quality and health equity and better-quality public health aftermaths. People need to capture the impacts of these advances as well as the role of health communication processes and health IT in attaining the mentioned goals. A course of action that will call for the setting up of multidisciplinary replicas and data structures. These will operate an significant part in enlargement of data assortment such that pertinent shareholders be familiar with the influences of health communication and health information know-how on public health results, medical care value, safety and health equity. Problem statement and Justification Problem statement The increase in the use of virtual health information and medical care amenities has subsidized to the subject of inadequate knowledge skills. Health literacy refers to the extent to which individuals enjoy the capacity to acquire, process and comprehend basic health care information and services which, are vital in ensuring informed decisions making in a health setting. Limited health literacy is bad news for the healthcare sector (Postal, 2013). HEALTH COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION 9 TECHNOLOGY This problem is widely encountered regardless of the people’s ages, races, income levels and levels of education. However, the issue of limited health literacy seems to mainly affect minority groups and individuals falling under the lower socioeconomic status. A major concern that emerges with limited health literacy is that it disrupts the ability to acquire and use health information, embrace healthy conducts and address public health issues. Limited health literacy is a serious issue as it also leads to higher health costs and poor health outcomes (Taylor, 2015). Justification of the problem Research attempts to show the severity of this problem. The Healthy People 2010, posits that there must be proficient health literacy to reinforce the everyday health support and disease prevention measures (In Zerwekh, 2014). In addition, it assists in the effective steering of the health care system and enhances responses to public health concerns and solutions. It has been established that limited health literacy has affected most adults at a certain point in their lives. However, there are some disparities regarding the severity and prevalence of this issue. Some groups of people tend to encounter this issue more than others. Here are some of the most affected populations. ✓ Adults over 65 years ✓ Racial and ethnic populations not whites ✓ Populations of non-native English speakers ✓ Individuals with no high school degree HEALTH COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION 10 TECHNOLOGY ✓ Individuals with relatively low income levels ✓ Recent refugee and immigrants There exists a link between limited health literacy and poor health outcomes. Recently conducted research shows that limited health literacy impacts the usage of preventive services, management of chronic diseases and self-management negatively. This issue has a tendency of increasing the rate of hospitalization. It has also contributed to the misinterpretation of instructions concerning prescribing medication for patients. Psychological costs arise from limited health literacy; this is considering that some adults tend to hide their problem with health literacy for fear of getting ashamed. This implies health care providers cannot identify such patients. According to economic studies, individuals suffering from limited health literacy incur higher medical costs and tend to apply an inefficient combination of medical services (In Nelson, 2013). Other indirect costs resulting from this issue include: disability, poor quality of life, lost wages and more chronic illness. Further research needs to be done to establish the definite effects of this issue. Literature Review Introduction The modernization and reorganization of the health care information, health communication processes and HIT infrastructure is crucial in the enhancement of public health outcomes and health outcomes of individuals. The society today has become connected to the extent that there are various sources and platforms capable of generating electronic healthcare information (Taylor, 2015). This is serves a significant part in informing the health goals and decisions made. The information sources today go beyond the traditional health care setting such HEALTH COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY 11 that the establish a more expansive and consistent pool of outstanding information. An essential electronic health information is necessary in order to unlock the full potential of the available health information. Studies show that this way the health and well-being can be improved (Postal, 2013). Previous studies have shown that improvement of the secure availability and application of the relevant health information enables individuals to take control of their health, to partner with healthcare practitioners and to attain better health and quality of life (In Nelson, 2013). It has also helped in facilitating an effective healthcare delivery system and improved long term health services and supports. Furthermore, health disparities existing in communities is reduced and public health improved due to the improved ability of health agencies to detect, monitor, prevent, and manage disease outbreaks. Health information induces more research and innovation, which has served as an incentive for advancing in scientific discoveries. It is important to note that demands of health information and technology continue to evolve; opportunities are emerging to devise mechanisms for innovation and formulating programs and policies that do not interfere with the healthcare sector negatively. It has become imperious for the relevant stakeholders to focus and address this new electronic health information and health information technology paradigm for the betterment of public health. One way to improve the quality and longevity of life is to empower individuals to enable them make healthy decisions. In this case, health information is vital for the accomplishment of the individual and systemic objectives and improvement measures. However, information alone cannot be enough to improve the public health outcomes, regardless of whether it has been electronically generated and disseminated. Collective efforts are required implying many HEALTH COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY 12 stakeholders have a role to play in making electronic health information more useful and giving it more meaning to curb the issue of limited health literacy (In Nelson, 2013). The most important objective of adopting health information technology is to better the health care quality and reduce health disparities as well as improve public healthcare outcomes. It aims at improving health communication processes such that costs are decreased while increasing the value in the healthcare setting. This matches the goals of the HHS National Quality Strategy which indicates the implementation measures to attain better health care, improve the well-being and health of individuals and communities and achieve affordable healthcare as well (In Zerwekh, 2014). Health information and data should be captured in a structured way. This is vital in achieving accurate, actionable and reliable clinical measurements across healthcare systems and settings. Data elements should be used consistently such that health information can be collected once and reused again for various purposes. Such purposes include: measurement of outcomes, practicing level improvements, monitoring, public health, research and decision support. This shows the importance of having efficient health communication strategies in place to facilitate individuals accessing the right information at the appropriate time. This leads to improved decision making hence, better health quality can be achieved as well as the outcomes of health care services. The advancement of the health information technology ecosystem has facilitated the availability of the appropriate information to the right individuals in organizations. As a result, individuals have been able to reach more informed decisions concerning their personal health HEALTH COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY 13 and healthcare services. In addition, health care providers have been enabled to deliver safer and more effective healthcare services (Taylor, 2015). Studies have shown the importance of health literacy in determining the quality of health care outcomes, improving the degree of community engagement and improving the people’s ability to comprehend and evaluate health information that they acquire from various sources and media platforms. Achieving health literacy is an essential step towards action, considering action as being our ultimate goal. Health communication strategies fall in a complex social environment; hence it is important to rely on an integrated strategy whereby health communication is an essential aspect of overall strategic planning. Of equal importance is the application of various approaches and communication processes to reflect the way people feel about health and ailments and how they make decisions in their routine lives. Improvement of health literacy is vital but it will need the interplay of other factors and never losing track of the obligation to behavioral and social outcomes. According to the Healthy People 2020, various measures through which positive results can be obtained from effective health communication strategies. Some of which relate with the effective health communication processes. These include, building social support networks, provision of new openings to link culturally diverse and marginalized populations, provision of sound policies in designing programs and intercessions that lead to healthier behaviors and outcomes (In Nelson, 2013). Traditionally, social support systems entailed family members, peers and friends. However, an expanded social support system should comprise of neighbors, healthcare HEALTH COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION 14 TECHNOLOGY practitioners, community members, leaders, policy makers and community organizations. These may play an important part in reinforcing the individual and group health behaviors. Particularly for vulnerable populations, an expanded social network is fundamental. Having an extensive social support and care network may assist in the following: improving an individual’s ability to deal with disease, get involved in treatment decisions and monitor health systems. It serves as a motivational tool for various groups encouraging them to embrace and maintain healthy and social behaviors that lead to better health outcomes. It encourages compliance to emergency procedures in case of a health crisis. social support networks also play a significant role in promoting patient’s involvement in the health equity dispute. In addition, it has enabled tailoring of healthcare policies and social norms (Taylor, 2015). Health information technology has its part to play as well, however it must be integrated with other program areas to achieve the anticipated results. Strategies for the improvement of health literacy are vital tools of empowerment showing huge potential in the reduction of health inequalities. Take into consideration that people suffering from the condition of limited health literacy have produced the worst health outcomes. Health literacy has larger role to play in affecting the health outcomes among individuals with lower education as compared to those with higher education. Measures and steps to improve health literacy have been revealed to impact various health outcomes such as: disease reduction, making depression more severe, improving availability of health information and bettering health behaviors. DATA COLLECTION HEALTH COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION 15 TECHNOLOGY Data was collected using various methods; household interviews were conducted in the respondent’s homes. Background questionnaires were also administered in private settings whenever the interviewers got a chance to do so. A computer based personal interviewing system was also used in conducting the interviews. The CAPI system was employed by interviewers in reading background questions from computer. All responses were entered into the system as well. In addition, assessment questions were also used to collect information from the respondents, these were issued in the form of booklets. The interviewers here were required to follow a script which assisted them introduce the assessment booklet and take the interviewee through the assessment. Once the questions were completed, the book was retrieved and an algorithm was employed in classifying the various responses. Assessment respondents were chosen through a complex sample design. This implies that the properties of the sample for the data collection design were considered in the analysis of data. Chapter Three: Proposed Solutions The notion of enhancing health literacy to improve health outcomes and promote health equity is rapidly growing. Health literacy plays an important role in shaping the health outcomes among disadvantaged groups such as individuals with lower education levels. A recent review upheld that vulnerable groups stand higher chances of benefitting from shared decision making initiatives than learned groups of people. Increasing health literacy therefore shows great potential to promote health equality (In Zerwekh & In Garneau, 2014). Evidence oriented measures aimed at addressing the issue of health literacy are arising from the grounds of health communication processes, health care and population health. This has seen the simplification and improvement of written material, and usage of other targeted tactics HEALTH COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY 16 to patient education and bettering patient-healthcare provider communication. Interventions are taking place in various forms and have led to positive outcomes, showing that the issue of health literacy can be addressed effectively. In relation to health information technology and health communication strategies, below is a health literacy action plan that encompasses some proposed solutions to improve health literacy and eventually the quality of health care as well. o Promoting interoperability This relates with the ability to share and reliably apply health information across health care settings, and systems which is a requisite in the attainment of electronically based quality improvement. o Reinforcing privacy and health information security Maintaining public trust is vital hence, individual’s medical information should be protected at whatever costs. Health care and health care information are turning to become unity and are working together to facilitate improvement of health care quality and equity. Therefore, health providers and other relevant stakeholders must strive to put in place strong measures capable of effecting heightened privacy and security precautions. More transparency must also be ensured when medical care organizations and institutions are handling patient’s medical data. o Providing support for the National Quality Strategy Health information technology must be used as the powerful tool it is to attain the ultimate goal of generating improved healthcare quality and public health outcomes. The NQS HEALTH COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY 17 outlines objectives and concerns for improving health equality and health care quality the same way. It implies that the quality improvement being enabled through health information technology will support the goals envisioned by the NQS (Taylor, 2015). o Reinforcing the existing health information technology infrastructure More investments need to be directed towards health information technology to facilitate a wider embracement of certified health IT infrastructure. This should involve bridging the gaps and redesigning the necessary standards for sharing, seizing and applying health care information for quality improvement activities. These encompass, quality assessments and evaluation, public health and new payment frameworks and decision support (In Zerwekh & In Garneau, 2014). o Empowering the quality ecosystem entirely Health information should be collected, shared and used specially for quality improvement. This will match the ideal information with the appropriate individuals and the time they need to use it. Many people will benefit from data availability and accessibility and greater transparency. They encompass, health care providers, patients, researchers, policy makers and payers. New analytical tools can be applied as well as decision support resources purposely for informing the decision making process which, will enable better management of health care systems (Postal & Armstrong, 2013). o Capturing once and replication There should be user centered health information technology systems such that healthcare providers can seize all necessary information in a structured manner during the delivery of healthcare services. Such data is helpful in monitoring the progress of patients and their health HEALTH COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY 18 needs. Furthermore, this data can also be harnessed, collected, and evaluated to facilitate decision support, quality assessment and reporting, public health management, population health outcomes and research. These efficiencies stand to minimize costs for stakeholders in the healthcare sector. o Supporting all levels of health information technology sophistication Various health care settings may require differing quality improvement to support their functionality. Health care providers with similar health information needs should device ways of working their quality improvements to their advantage. o Increasing flexibility through modularity Due to complexity of the health care systems, there is high resistance to change. This should present choice in case they are subdivided into independent mechanisms capable of being linked together. We should consider the changes occurring to health care delivery and healthcare technologies as time passes, therefore quality ecosystems potential to evolve must be preserved to enable us benefit from the advances in technology and research advancements in healthcare delivery. The purpose of modularity is to stimulate flexibility to create room for innovation and adopting new and more effective approaches without disrupting the entire healthcare system. However, it is our role to ensure that modularity does not present further complications (In Zerwekh & In Garneau, 2014). o Aligning and simplification Many government and private information collections and reporting needs are meant for quality improvement of clinical programs. Persistent efforts towards alignment and HEALTH COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION 19 TECHNOLOGY simplification of these needs can reduce the burden arising from collecting and reporting while leveraging information replication capabilities of health information technology. This implies that specially focusing on improving data needs is fundamental to promote embracement in the market (Taylor, 2015). o Putting more emphasis on value This requires health information technology efforts to be directed towards enforcing valid, accurate and comparable measures of quality outcomes and total cost of health care, considering this information is being highly demanded by health care consumers in the delivery of healthcare services and making payer decisions. Conclusion Health literacy is an inevitable determinant of quality health care, health communications processes and health information IT can be tailored to meet the objectives of improving health literacy. Improving health literacy is a major step in improving the population health outcomes, health equality and health care quality and safety. While amalgamating health communication strategies and health information know-how in the premeditated objectives of civilizing health aftereffects, they need to be made informally care accountable and patient concentrated. The health literacy action plan therefore aims at improving public health outcomes. It is a powerful tool that local areas will be able to establish and implement and also evaluate it. In addition, the health literacy plan aims at reinforcing health literacy and establishing community oriented HEALTH COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION 20 TECHNOLOGY approaches of improving health care quality and ensuring the availability of health information through health IT and communication processes (Postal & Armstrong, 2013). Many stakeholders have a responsibility to improve health literacy. Health care practitioners and professionals require support from various sectors such as child education, families, employers and the community to address this issue and improve public health outcomes, minimize health inequality and improve the quality of medical care services. References In Nelson, R. a. (2013). Health informatics: An interprofessional approach. In Zerwekh, J. A. (2014). Nursing today: Transition and trends. . Postal, K. a. (2013). The art of communicating neuropsychological asssment results. New York: Oxford University Press. Taylor, S. E. (2015). Health psychology. . . HEALTH COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY 21

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