216240 Public Health Preparedness for Special Needs Populations: Harnessing the Power of Health Information and CommunicationTechnology

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Anne M. Rader, Master of Public Administration , Public Health Preparedness Team, Booz Allen Hamilton, McLean, VA
Margo Edmunds, PhD , Health IT Team, Booz Allen Hamilton and Johns Hopkins University, Rockville, MD
People with disabilities and other at-risk groups bear a disproportionate impact during and after natural disasters and other public health emergencies. We will examine the role of health information and communications technologies--including electronic health records, mobile phones, and social media in helping to close the coordination, commmunication and access gaps in health care delivery and emergency preparedness and response for people with disabilities. The transformational potential of health information and communications technology (Health IT) in health care delivery and disaster response is becoming more of a reality. The Health IT components of the stimulus package collectively labeled HITECH (the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health) reflect a nearly $20 billion investment in incentives for electronic health records to improve the efficiency and access of the healthcare system and provide direct access for consumers to their own health records. The stimulus package also provided funds for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to actively explore ways that broadband access can benefit people with disabilities. As the earthquake in Haiti has shown, texting, e-mail, Twitter, and other social media access via mobile phones have become an integral part of disaster response. Through the Recovery Act, funding is available for state and local governments and healthcare providers to improve access to information and communications technology for people with disabilities. We will describe how innovative programs and projects across the country are using new technologies to improve readiness and healthcare access for people with disabilities and other vulnerable populations.

Learning Areas:
Communication and informatics
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe at least three ways in which disasters and public health emergencies have a disproportionate impact on people with disabilities. 2. Identify and explain three ways that communications and health information technologies can improve emergency management and public health preparedness for people with disabilities. 3. Identify and assess opportunities for funding of innovative programs to improve emergency preparedness and response for people with disabilities.

Keywords: Special Needs, Information Technology

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: My professional expertise is in the area of public health and emergency preparedness as a Subject Matter Expert in disability, special needs and vulnerable populations. I also serve on the National Council on Disability, a Federal Advisory Board on disability policy where I serve as Chair of the Council's Health Care Team. I also support the Council's work on public health preparedness, health care and information technology.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.