The Community Health Information Movement: Where It’s Been, Where It’s Going
The history and evolution of the community health information movement can be considered a case study. Beginning with the Community Health Management Information System, an initiative of the John A. Hartford Foundation, and continuing through failed efforts to form community health information networks (CHINs), the movement has essentially progressed in a circular fashion, returning to its original starting point. The lessons learned from the long history of failures provide a blueprint for those who would succeed in providing community health information services. These lessons include the requirement to focus on information needs rather than wants; the importance of establishing information services on a business basis; as the model for building CHIN collaboration must fit in a competitive framework, recognition of the importance of defining roles clearly; the need to narrow the scope of community health information initiatives; and the acknowledgement that the privacy of health information as a legitimate concern. Ultimately, the success of the community health information movement resides in forming partnerships among health enterprises, vendors, and community groups. A few organizations are already encountering success with this model. Public health organizations can benefit substantially from becoming partners in such community health information initiatives.
KeywordsHealth Information Community Group Information System Development Public Health Organization Health Industry
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