All http://www.hhs.gov/digitalstrategy/tag/all/%2A en Due Diligence – Double, Triple Checking Consumer Info http://www.hhs.gov/digitalstrategy/blog/2014/06/checking-marketplace-consumer-info.html <div class="field field-name-field-byline field-type-text field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Julie Bataille, Director of Communications, Centers for Medicare &amp; Medicaid Services</div></div></div><div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even" property="content:encoded"><p>The Affordable Care Act created a new eligibility system for affordable health insurance, relying primarily on electronic data sources rather than paper and pay stubs to evaluate applications.  During the first historic open enrollment, the Health Insurance Marketplace took steps to verify more than 160 million of individual pieces of information submitted by consumers from across the country, consistent with the requirements Congress included in the Affordable Care Act. The Marketplace checked to see that consumers are who they said they were, matching Social Security numbers, income and tribal status, among a host of other data points – all to ensure that folks are eligible for coverage and, in many cases, entitled to financial assistance to help them afford their plan. The typical family of four generated 21 separate pieces of information that required verification, and all were attested to under penalty of perjury. </p> <p>For most consumers, the data they submitted were immediately verified by the Marketplace. But, while most information the applicant provided lined up, sometimes a name or data point didn’t match up right away with existing records. For example, a consumer might have recently changed jobs, but the latest IRS tax return data and other data available to the Marketplace didn’t reflect that change in income. In such cases, the law requires us to double and triple check this data in another way. Those consumers were still able to enroll in Marketplace coverage – as provided for in the law – but, when they enrolled, they received a notice instructing them to submit a little bit more information.</p> <p>The Marketplace is working around the clock with consumers who were asked to provide additional information in order to double check the information consumers attested to on their application for coverage. In many cases, consumers have already uploaded or mailed in necessary documentation, such as a paystub and extra information cleared up discrepancies other cases require more facts from the consumer, the spelling of a name on a birth certificate doesn’t match the spelling on a license. Our teams are processing this information as quickly as possible.</p> <p>We are focused on getting this right to help consumers and do due diligence for taxpayers.  In most cases we need more facts that only individuals can provide. That’s why, over the next few weeks, we’re again reaching out to these consumers – via mail, email and phone calls – to encourage them to provide supporting documentation so we can resolve any remaining issues with their application as soon as possible. It’s an important part of the process to help ensure that consumers are getting the benefits they’re eligible for and deserve.</p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.538em;">As part of our due diligence process and to be a good steward of taxpayer money, if consumers don’t provide sufficient proof to support the information they attested to, they will have their eligibility ended or changed to reflect what is recorded in trusted data sources.</span></p> <p>Applying for health insurance online was a new process for many consumers, and it was always expected that some would need to submit additional data so the Marketplace can complete the verification required by the Affordable Care Act. This verification process isn’t unique to the Marketplace; in fact, it’s similar to a process that states have been administering in the Medicaid program since its inception. Under the law, consumers typically are given 90 days in which to submit additional information to verify their information on their application.  Most people who applied during open enrollment are still within that window, and, for those who aren’t, we’re giving them extra time to provide documentation as they work through these issues with us – a flexibility the Affordable Care Act provides for the start-up year of 2014. </p> <p>We remain committed to working with consumers individually – as well as our state and federal partners – to address any issues that may be impacting consumers’ ability to secure quality, affordable health coverage.</p> </div></div></div><div class="field field-name-field-site-tags field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-inline clearfix"><div class="field-label">Site Tags:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/digitalstrategy/tags/health-it">Health IT</a></div></div></div> Wed, 04 Jun 2014 13:28:11 +0000 345 at http://www.hhs.gov/digitalstrategy Storyboarding is Key to Successful Storytelling http://www.hhs.gov/digitalstrategy/working-better/storyboarding.html <div class="field field-name-field-site-tags field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-inline clearfix"><div class="field-label">Site Tags:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/digitalstrategy/tags/content-strategy">Content Strategy</a>, <a href="/digitalstrategy/tags/plain-language">Plain Language</a></div></div></div><div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even" property="content:encoded"><p>Communication professionals pride themselves on coming up with big ideas and big messages. But moving a great idea from conceptualization to execution can be challenging, especially when you want to keep your budget in check. Storyboards can greatly assist in this process, a strategy I found to be critical to the success of a <a href="http://www.stopbullying.gov/videos/2014/03/labels-dont-define-you.html">new animated video developed for StopBullying.gov</a>.</p> <p>In order to minimize extensive and expensive changes to the animation during the production phase, I wanted to provide my constituents with something tangible to approve before instructing the designer to develop the animation.</p> <p>I determined that the best way to accomplish this was to create a simple storyboard. Storyboards are an effective strategy to presenting a clear picture of the events leading up to the “take away” message in any video production. And for a video weighing in at 25 seconds or less, I had to make every frame count.</p> <p>The following <strong>“Do’s and Don’ts”</strong> are lessons learned during my experience with creating storyboards for our animated video, but these tips also translate to live action. The image shown is from an early version of the storyboard and as you can see, is quite different than the final product.</p> <p><strong>Do’s and Don’ts of Successful Storyboarding:</strong></p> <ul><li><strong>Do convey action through static images.</strong> It’s important to show a sequence of events through storyboard slides. By providing a step-by-step story flow accounting for transitions in movement, it makes it easier to translate into the final action sequence.</li> <li><strong>Do take into consideration what people will hear as the story progresses.</strong> Will there be an instrumental overlay? Will the subject be talking? Conveying the mood through music was critical to the success of this piece, so we added that element to later storyboard drafts.</li> <li><strong>Do share your storyboard with your constituents before starting final project development.</strong> By doing this, we eliminated “red flags” that were appearing in the storyboard from inappropriate facial expression to tweaking the language used.</li> <li><strong>Don’t underestimate the importance of conveying body language and facial expression.</strong> Whether in live action or animation, it is critical to look at the subtleties that express sentiment. Is the character displaying the intended emotion in a particular frame? How does that expression change as they move from internal conflict to resolution?</li> <li><strong>Don’t wait until the very end to make small, but important changes. </strong>Using storyboards provides an excellent opportunity to work out video kinks BEFORE you move into formal production, whether its developing animation or sifting through hours of footage to try and piece together a story. This can not only save you time, but money as well.</li> </ul><p><img alt="Storyboarding is Key to Successful Storytelling" height="676" src="/digitalstrategy/sites/digitalstrategy/files/20140429_Storyboarding600.jpg" title="Storyboarding is Key to Successful Storytelling" width="600" /></p> <p>Storyboards play a critical role in the development of any video project. Every frame counts and by laying out your entire story, you can better tell your story.</p> </div></div></div><div class="field field-name-field-article-cta-question field-type-text field-label-above"><div class="field-label">CTA Question:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Have you used storyboarding in a public health project?</div></div></div> Tue, 29 Apr 2014 14:56:35 +0000 343 at http://www.hhs.gov/digitalstrategy Introducing openFDA http://www.hhs.gov/digitalstrategy/blog/2014/03/introducing-openfda.html <div class="field field-name-field-byline field-type-text field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Taha Kass-Hout, M.D., M.S., Chief Health Informatics Officer, Food &amp; Drug Administration</div></div></div><div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even" property="content:encoded"><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><em>NOTE: This is cross-posted from the </em><a href="http://open.fda.gov/blog/introducing-openfda/"><em>openFDA Blog</em></a>.</p> <p>openFDA is an exciting new initiative in the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Informatics and Technology Innovation spearheaded by FDA’s Chief Informatics Officer. openFDA will offer easy access to FDA public data and highlight projects using these data in both the public and private sector to further regulatory or scientific missions, educate the public, and save lives.</p> <p><strong>What will it do?</strong></p> <p>On launch, openFDA will provide <a href="http://www.howto.gov/mobile/apis-in-government">API</a> and raw download access to a number of high-value structured datasets. Additionally, openFDA will provide a platform for public challenges issued by the FDA and a place for the community to interact with each other and FDA domain experts with the goal of spurring innovation around FDA data. We're currently focused on working on datasets in the following areas:</p> <ul><li><strong>Adverse Events</strong>: FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System, a database that contains millions of adverse event and medication error reports submitted to FDA covering all regulated drugs.</li> <li><strong>Recalls</strong>: Enforcement Report and Product Recalls Data, containing information gathered from public notices about certain recalls of FDA-regulated products</li> <li><strong>Documentation</strong>: Structured Product Labeling Data, containing detailed product label information on many FDA-regulated products</li> </ul><p>Beta access to the datasets via APIs or download capabilities is anticipated for Summer 2014, with a larger public release in Fall of this year.</p> <p><strong>How can I join in?</strong></p> <p>We're still hard at work curating and refining the data we intend to launch, so please stay tuned for the latest updates and information on openFDA. If there is a unique partnership opportunity or other collaboration you wish to discuss, you can email us at <a href="mailto:open@fda.hhs.gov">open@fda.hhs.gov</a>.</p> </div></div></div><div class="field field-name-field-site-tags field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-inline clearfix"><div class="field-label">Site Tags:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/digitalstrategy/tags/api">API</a>, <a href="/digitalstrategy/tags/entrepreneur">Entrepreneur</a></div></div></div> Thu, 27 Mar 2014 14:36:43 +0000 341 at http://www.hhs.gov/digitalstrategy One Thousand Data Sets and Counting http://www.hhs.gov/digitalstrategy/open-data/1000-datasets-and-counting.html <div class="field field-name-field-site-tags field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-inline clearfix"><div class="field-label">Site Tags:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/digitalstrategy/tags/api">API</a>, <a href="/digitalstrategy/tags/entrepreneur">Entrepreneur</a>, <a href="/digitalstrategy/tags/milestones">Milestones</a></div></div></div><div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even" property="content:encoded"><p>The program managers, researchers, scientists and analysts at the Department of Health and Human Services have been collecting data for decades on the nation’s health, demographics, social services, and scientific research. But what’s the value of all that data if it isn’t used?</p> <p>That’s why we launched the HHS Health Data Initiative three years ago, a department-wide effort to gather up and make our vast troves of data available – in one place online -- to private sector innovators, researchers, and the public. In addition to publishing new and existing data at <a href="http://healthdata.gov/">HealthData.gov</a>, we’ve also focused on making the data easier to use -- while rigorously protecting privacy. This is part of the President’s government-wide Open Data initiative to promote efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency. We’re pleased to announce that the initiative recently hit a major milestone: <strong>cataloging the one-thousandth data set on HealthData.gov.</strong></p> <p>These 1,000-plus data sets include data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Medicare &amp; Medicaid Services, the National Institutes of Health, the Administration for Children and Families, and other agencies. Additionally, nine states have made their own data available, with more the come.</p> <p>ur goal has been to unleash the power of private-sector innovators and entrepreneurs to use HealthData.gov data to create applications, products, and services that help consumers, care providers, employers, local policymakers, and communities in ways that no one organization could possibly imagine. We’ve already seen some exciting examples of how innovators can put accessible government data to use in their efforts to improve health care quality, guide individuals to available health care and social services, and inform health policy:</p> <ul><li>Project Tycho, a University of Pittsburgh initiative, has unlocked the data in CDC weekly reports on contagious diseases going back to 1888. One analysis of the data on eight diseases allowed researchers to estimate that about 100 million cases of illnesses had been prevented by immunization efforts.</li> <li>Aidin, a small startup, is using data from CMS on quality health facilities and nursing homes to help provide patients with specific discharge guidance about their options for post-acute care.</li> <li>iTriage, a mobile and web platform, uses HHS health facility locator databases to help patients make informed health decisions and find nearby care providers.</li> </ul><p>Along with President Obama's <a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/open">Open Government initiative</a>, the Affordable Care Act authorizes HHS to release new data resources that advance transparency in the health care provider and insurance markets in significant ways. The law authorizes CMS to evolve how it pays care providers, shifting from quantity to quality of care.  This shift is creating strong incentives for health care providers to leverage data and technology to help reduce errors, cut avoidable hospital readmissions, improve care coordination, and engage patients in new ways, while helping to restrain health care cost growth.</p> <p>The Affordable Care Act is also investing in data collection and research that will help us better understand and find solutions for health disparities in different communities across the country.</p> <p>By encouraging transparency and market-based innovation around health data, we are playing to America’s strength to solve our most pressing problems.</p> </div></div></div><div class="field field-name-field-article-cta-question field-type-text field-label-above"><div class="field-label">CTA Question:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Have you used any of these datasets to foster health care innovation? Tell us below.</div></div></div> Tue, 04 Mar 2014 20:55:34 +0000 340 at http://www.hhs.gov/digitalstrategy HealthCare.gov: Ready to serve millions more http://www.hhs.gov/digitalstrategy/blog/2014/02/ready-to-serve-millions-more.html <div class="field field-name-field-byline field-type-text field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Julie Bataille, Director of Communications, Centers for Medicare &amp; Medicaid Services</div></div></div><div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even" property="content:encoded"><p>As we head into March and the final weeks of the first ever open enrollment period for the new Health Insurance Marketplace, HealthCare.gov is working and ready to serve millions more consumers seeking quality, affordable health coverage.</p> <p>The site continues to welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors each day creating accounts, completing applications, shopping and enrolling in coverage.  System improvements made so far have helped many of the four million people currently enrolled to find quality, affordable coverage, and we keep working to make the site even simpler and more user friendly.  The site continues to perform well – serving consumers with response times of less than half a second and error rates of less than half a percent.</p> <p>The tech team continues to monitor system performance in real time, 24/7 and take steps to improve the user experience.  We do this taking lessons learned from the site’s visitors and feedback from the thousands who have responded to our request for what we can do to continually improve.  A few recent enhancements include:</p> <ul><li style="margin-left: 0.75in;">New account creation screens – streamlining the number of screens users complete to begin the online application process from five to two.</li> <li style="margin-left: 0.75in;">Additional Help content at various stages of the application process –especially supporting more complex family situations and immigrant populations.</li> <li style="margin-left: 0.75in;">The ability for consumers to now report life changes that could impact their eligibility and coverage –like having a baby or getting married.</li> </ul><p>As we anticipate a surge of activity in March we are also taking steps to make sure our customer service representatives are even more prepared to help consumers understand their options and enroll in coverage.  This coming weekend we will transition 1500 service representatives from web chat to direct telephone assistance where they can help consumers with enrollment 24/7; we have added an additional 800 Spanish speaking representatives to our call center operation; and we’ve provided additional training to call center staff as well as in person assisters.  We have approximately 14,000 call center personnel and more than 25,000 trained in-person assisters across the country ready to enroll consumers every day.</p> <p>Open enrollment ends March 31.</p> <p> </p> <p><em><span style="font-family: calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 19.179601669311523px;">This post is no longer accepting comments. If you want to learn more about the Affordable Care Act, please visit</span><a href="http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/" style="color: rgb(50, 108, 166); cursor: pointer; font-family: calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 19.179601669311523px;" title="Follow link">hhs.gov/healthcare</a><span style="font-family: calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 19.179601669311523px;">. If you have question about or need assistance with health insurance enrollment, please visit</span><a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/contact-us/" style="color: rgb(50, 108, 166); cursor: pointer; font-family: calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 19.179601669311523px;" title="Follow link">https://www.healthcare.gov/contact-us/</a><span style="font-family: calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 19.179601669311523px;">.</span></em></p> </div></div></div><div class="field field-name-field-site-tags field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-inline clearfix"><div class="field-label">Site Tags:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/digitalstrategy/tags/health-it">Health IT</a></div></div></div> Thu, 27 Feb 2014 18:57:14 +0000 338 at http://www.hhs.gov/digitalstrategy New Mobile App Helps Providers Prevent Life-threatening Infections in Newborns http://www.hhs.gov/digitalstrategy/mobile/gbs-infection-prevention.html <div class="field field-name-field-site-tags field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-inline clearfix"><div class="field-label">Site Tags:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/digitalstrategy/tags/mobile-apps">Mobile Apps</a></div></div></div><div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even" property="content:encoded"><p>The phrase, “…time is of the essence,” often rings true when working to protect people from health threats. It is especially true when caring for infants.  CDC launched a new app—Prevent Group B Strep (GBS) — in October 2013 created specifically for busy health care providers on the go.</p> <div class="captionBox floatRight"><a href="http://www.cdc.gov/groupbstrep/guidelines/prevention-app.html"><img alt="Patient-specific group B strep guidance at your fingertips, download the app now. Image of CDC logo and app on iPad also shown." height="260" src="/digitalstrategy/sites/digitalstrategy/files/resize/20140211_New_Mobile_App_Helps_Providers_Prevent_Life-threating_Infections_in_Newborns_image-315x260.jpg" title="Patient-specific group B strep guidance at your fingertips, download the app now." width="315" /></a> <p class="imgCaption">Patient-specific group B strep<br /> guidance at your fingertips,<br /><a href="http://www.cdc.gov/groupbstrep/guidelines/prevention-app.html">download the app now</a>.</p> </div> <p>Each year about 1,200 infants less than 1 week old get early-onset <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/groupbstrep/about/newborns-pregnant.html"><strong>group B strep disease</strong></a> in the United States. Group <em style="line-height: 1.538em;">B Streptococcus </em><span style="line-height: 1.538em;">bacteria, or GBS, are a leading cause of infection and death within the first week of life. These bacteria can cause life-threating infections, such as sepsis (infection of the blood), pneumonia (infection in the lungs), and </span><a href="http://www.cdc.gov/meningitis/index.html" style="line-height: 1.538em;"><strong>meningitis</strong></a><span style="line-height: 1.538em;"> (infection of the fluid and lining around the brain). </span></p> <div> <p>With the touch of a fingertip, CDC’s app aims to provide patient- and scenario-specific guidance consistent with the <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/groupbstrep/guidelines/guidelines.html"><strong>2010 <em>Guidelines for the Prevention of Perinatal GBS Disease</em></strong></a>. As of January 31, 2013, the app had been downloaded more than 6,000 times.</p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.538em;">This app, which was developed by CDC with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the American College of Nurse-Midwives, simplifies the screening process of interpreting the guidelines. The app asks obstetric and neonatal providers to answer a series of simple questions about their patients. Based on the responses, health care providers obtain patient-specific GBS prevention recommendations within seconds. Additionally, the app provides patient-specific recommendations for the appropriate choice of antibiotic for pregnant women, an area of the GBS guidelines that does not always get correctly implemented. Using the right antibiotic is critical, especially in an era of antibiotic resistance. </span><em style="line-height: 1.538em;">(Left photo: Screenshot of the Prevent Group B Strep app.)</em></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.538em;">“Our team’s goal in developing ‘Prevent Group B Strep’ was to give obstetric and neonatal providers a quick and convenient way to obtain evidence-based management recommendations for each patient at the bedside,” said CDC epidemiologist, Jonathan Wortham, M.D. “We hope the app will enhance implementation of the GBS guidelines and ultimately help more babies get a healthy start.”</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.538em;">This app is another way CDC is using technology to provide life-saving information 24/7. </span><a href="http://www.cdc.gov/groupbstrep/guidelines/prevention-app.html" style="line-height: 1.538em;"><strong>Download “Prevent Group B Strep”</strong></a><span style="line-height: 1.538em;"> free from the CDC iTunes App Store or Google Play.</span></p> </div> <p> </p> </div></div></div><div class="field field-name-field-article-cta-question field-type-text field-label-above"><div class="field-label">CTA Question:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">What other public health problems would you like to see tackled by a mobile app?</div></div></div> Tue, 11 Feb 2014 17:59:14 +0000 334 at http://www.hhs.gov/digitalstrategy Leading Pharmacies and Retailers Join the Blue Button Initiative http://www.hhs.gov/digitalstrategy/open-data/leading-pharmacies-retailers-join-blue-button.html <div class="field field-name-field-site-tags field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-inline clearfix"><div class="field-label">Site Tags:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/digitalstrategy/tags/security-privacy">Security Privacy</a></div></div></div><div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even" property="content:encoded"><p style="margin-left:20px;"><em>NOTE: this is the cross-post of a blog that originally appeared on the </em><a href="http://www.healthit.gov/buzz-blog/consumer/leading-pharmacies-retailers-join-blue-button-initiative/?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+healthitbuzzblog+%28Health+IT+Buzz+Blog%29"><em>HealthITBuzz blog</em></a><em> by Nick Sinai, U.S. Deputy CTO in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy , and Adam Dole, Presidential Innovation Fellow.</em></p> <p>Recently, as part of the growing movement to help customers access and securely share their own health information, several of the Nation’s largest retail pharmacy chains and associations are <a href="http://www.healthit.gov/patients-families/pledge-info">pledging</a> to support the Blue Button initiative—a public-private partnership between the health care industry and the Federal Government that aims to empower all Americans with access to their own electronic health information. These steps will help patients access their prescription information and further empower millions of Americans to better manage their healthcare.</p> <p>The concept behind Blue Button is simple: consumers should be able to securely access their own health information and share it with health care providers, caregivers, and others they trust.</p> <p>In 2010, with the support of the White House, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) launched <a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/10/07/blue-button-provides-access-downloadable-personal-health-data">the Blue Button initiative</a> to give veterans the ability to access and download their health records on a secure, online patient portal. Since then, the initiative has expanded and more than 150 million Americans today are able to use Blue Button-enabled tools to access their own health information from a variety of sources including healthcare providers, health insurance companies, medical labs, and state health information networks.</p> <p>An increasingly important part of the Blue Button initiative is making patient information available in secure, simple, standard formats to help spur the development of innovative consumer applications and devices that can help patients better manage their own health care and facilitate the electronic sharing of data with trusted partners, such as medical specialists who might not otherwise have direct access to relevant records.</p> <p>That’s why the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC)—with input from more than 70 organizations—recently released “<a href="http://www.bluebuttonplus.org/">Blue Button+</a> <a href="http://www.hhs.gov/Disclaimer.html"><img alt="site exit disclaimer" src="/digitalstrategy/sites/digitalstrategy/files/images/0-external-disclaimer.jpg" style="width: 11px; height: 10px;" width="11" height="10" /></a>”, a set of technical guidelines to help providers structure their data in standardized machine-readable formats.  And the vast majority of doctors and hospitals will be working to use the Blue Button+ standards beginning this year as part of their participation in the Federal Electronic Health Record <a href="http://www.cms.gov/Regulations-and-Guidance/Legislation/EHRIncentivePrograms/Meaningful_Use.html">incentive program</a>.</p> <p>In parallel, as part of today’s announcement, the following companies are committing to work over the next year towards standardizing patient prescription information to fuel the growth of private-sector applications and services that can add value to this basic health information:</p> <ul><li><strong>Walgreens,</strong> which currently provides its customers with the ability to view and download their prescription history from a Blue Button-branded online portal, plans to adopt BlueButton+ guidelines to make it easier for customers to easily and securely share their data with others, including third-party applications to help people better manage their health and coordinate their healthcare. Walgreens also recently announced a new partnership with the VA which gives veterans convenient, online access to a broader set of personal health data, including immunization records.</li> <li><strong>Kroger</strong>, which provides approximately half of its customers access to their own pharmacy records through a secure online portal, will be launching a secure portal for the remainder of its stores, many of which operate under local banner names—including Smiths and Fry’s—in addition to developing new functionality that will enable all of its customers to download a copy of their records, and is exploring plans to provide customers with a machine-readable copy of their records that can be shared and uploaded into third-party applications and services.</li> <li><strong>CVS Caremark </strong>currently provides its customers with the ability to securely access and download their medication lists and prescription history, as well as refill prescriptions through its various online portals, including CVS.com and caremark.com.</li> <li><strong>Rite Aid,</strong> through its MyPharmacy online portal, currently provides its customers with electronic access to their own prescription history, tools to better manage their prescriptions, and medication management reminders via phone, email or text message. Rite Aid has committed to improving patient engagement and empowerment through expanded access to their own health data and an evolving set of online service capabilities.</li> <li><strong>Safeway,</strong> one of the newest members of the Blue Button community, is committing to enable its customers to securely access and share their own electronic pharmacy records.</li> </ul><p>The following national pharmacy associations are also joining the Blue Button initiative and committing to promote the adoption and use of Blue Button among the pharmacies they represent:</p> <ul><li><strong>National Association Chain Drug Stores</strong>, which represents traditional drug stores, supermarkets, and mass merchants with pharmacies<strong>.</strong> Chains operate more than 41,000 pharmacies and employ more than 3.8 million employees, including 132,000 pharmacists.</li> <li><strong>Pharmacy Health IT Collaborative</strong>, which represents nine national pharmacy professional associations representing more than 250,000 members.<br /><ul type="circle"><li><strong>National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations</strong>, which promotes leadership, sharing, learning, and policy exchange among state pharmacy associations and pharmacy leaders nationwide.</li> </ul></li> </ul><p>These commitments from some of the Nation’s largest retail pharmacy chains and associations promise to provide a growing number of patients with easy and secure access to their own personal pharmacy prescription history and allow them to check their medication history for accuracy, access prescription lists from multiple doctors, and securely share this information with their healthcare providers.</p> <p>As companies move towards standard formats and the ability to securely transmit this information electronically, Americans will be able to use their pharmacy records with new innovative software applications and services that can improve medication adherence, reduce dosing errors, prevent adverse drug interactions, and save lives. The World Health Organization estimates that poor medication adherence alone costs the United States up to $300 billion dollars a year.</p> <p>In another important step, earlier this week <a href="http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2014pres/02/20140203a.html">HHS issued a rule</a> allowing labs to provide patients or their representatives direct access to their test results upon request. Building on the availability of tools like Blue Button, patients will soon have expanded access to their own laboratory results, giving them critical information to track health care progress, spot errors, and make health decisions. Laboratories are encouraged to provide the lab results, at a patient’s request, in machine-readable formats, making the information usable in a variety of applications and health IT tools.</p> <p>The Blue Button initiative is one of several <a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/innovationfellows/mydata-initiatives">MyData Initiatives</a> launched and supported by the Administration to provide Americans with secure access to their personal data in useful, digital formats.</p> <p>For more information about Blue Button, please visit <a href="http://www.healthit.gov/bluebutton">HealthIT.gov/BlueButton</a> or <a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/10/07/blue-button-provides-access-downloadable-personal-health-data">WhiteHouse.gov</a>.</p> </div></div></div><div class="field field-name-field-article-cta-question field-type-text field-label-above"><div class="field-label">CTA Question:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Have you accessed your Blue Button data yet?</div></div></div> Mon, 10 Feb 2014 14:58:12 +0000 333 at http://www.hhs.gov/digitalstrategy FDA Public Education Campaign Aims to Prevent/Reduce Youth Tobacco Use http://www.hhs.gov/digitalstrategy/people-first/the-real-cost-campaign.html <div class="field field-name-field-site-tags field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-inline clearfix"><div class="field-label">Site Tags:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/digitalstrategy/tags/content-strategy">Content Strategy</a>, <a href="/digitalstrategy/tags/minority-health">Minority Health</a>, <a href="/digitalstrategy/tags/public-focus">Public Focus</a>, <a href="/digitalstrategy/tags/social-media">Social Media</a></div></div></div><div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even" property="content:encoded"><p>This February FDA launches something truly unique: its first public education campaign to prevent and reduce youth tobacco use. Never before has the Agency embarked on an education campaign of this nature and magnitude. The first of five distinct youth-focused efforts FDA has in the works, <a href="http://therealcost.betobaccofree.hhs.gov/">“The Real Cost” campaign </a>seeks to reduce the number of youth smokers in our country over the next few years.</p> <div class="captionBox floatRight"><img alt="Did you know? Don't smile, smoking may stain your teeth." src="/digitalstrategy/sites/digitalstrategy/files/20140204_real_cost_image2.png" style="width: 200px; height: 222px; float: right;" title="Did you know? Don't smile, smoking may stain your teeth." width="200" height="222" /><p align="left" class="imgCaption" text="">Infographics illustrate the<br /> point that smoking can cause<br /> stained teeth and tooth loss.</p> </div> <p>Those working in the public health and medical communities know all too well the startling statistics surrounding teen tobacco use, especially smoking, and to prevent young people from becoming addicted. Unfortunately, there are more than 10 million youths ages 12 to 17 who are open to smoking or already experimenting with cigarettes.</p> <p>Getting the message right to reach teens is critical. We have to be smart about how we talk to children about a behavior like experimenting with tobacco products. So instead of sounding like yet another authority figure citing statistics or telling teens not to do something because it is bad for them, FDA dedicated significant time and research into creating something that will catch their attention. The multimedia campaign is designed around visually compelling and personally relevant messages that will appeal to, and resonate with, teens at-risk for smoking.</p> <p>This campaign is the first time the Department has applied this ‘people first’ approach we’ve taken to <a href="http://www.hhs.gov/digitalstrategy/people-first/mental-health-dot-gov.html">mental health</a>, <a href="http://www.hhs.gov/digitalstrategy/working-better/usability-dot-gov.html">usability</a>, and <a href="http://www.hhs.gov/digitalstrategy/blog/2012/11/be-tobacco-free-website-digital-strategy.html">tobacco</a> to those younger than 18.  Such a target possesses unique challenges for engagement and education.</p> <p>Through television, radio, social media and outlets associated with their interests, including music, fashion, sports, gaming, and comedy, the campaign seeks to surround at-risk teens with messages that reach them where they are in their daily lives.</p> <div class="captionBox floatRight"><img alt="Alt Text: ‘Did You Know?’ Campaign ad, reading “New research shows menthols may be even more addictive than other cigarettes.”" class="image-medium" src="/digitalstrategy/sites/digitalstrategy/files/styles/medium/public/20140205-the-real-cost.png?itok=IOGPs4C_" style="line-height: 1.538em; width: 200px; height: 220px; float: right;" title="‘Did You Know?’ Campaign ad, reading “New research shows menthols may be even more addictive than other cigarettes.”" /><p class="imgCaption">Some ads highlight<br /> the fact that menthol<br /> cigarettes cause the<br /> same health consequences<br /> as regular cigarettes, as<br /> youths are more likely to<br /> report smoking menthol<br /> cigarettes than<br /> regular cigarettes.</p> </div> <p>“The Real Cost” aims to make them acutely aware of the potential risk from every cigarette by highlighting consequences they are concerned about.</p> <p>One set of creative materials challenges the beliefs of independence-seeking youths who think they will not get addicted or feel they can quit at any time by portraying addiction to cigarettes as a loss of control.</p> <p>Another approach dramatizes the health consequences of smoking by graphically depicting results like tooth loss and skin damage to demonstrate that every cigarette comes with a “cost” that is more than just financial.</p> <p>The development of the “The Real Cost” campaign is grounded in research and supported by best marketing practices as well as multiple rounds of testing with our target audience. Ads will run nationwide across multiple platforms beginning February 11.  And that’s only the beginning: subsequent youth tobacco prevention campaigns will target other audiences, including multicultural, rural, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youths.</p> <p>As FDA takes their mission of protecting kids from tobacco to the next level – by reaching out to them with images and words that speak to them – they’ve embraced the principles of the Digital Strategy. They’ve created a comprehensive campaign around the audience they’re targeting.  The entire campaign is built with a mobile first approach, and social media and shared content serve as the primary means to engage with visitors.</p> </div></div></div><div class="field field-name-field-article-cta-question field-type-text field-label-above"><div class="field-label">CTA Question:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">What do you think of the new campaign?</div></div></div> Wed, 05 Feb 2014 16:09:34 +0000 332 at http://www.hhs.gov/digitalstrategy 2013 Year in Health Data Highlights http://www.hhs.gov/digitalstrategy/open-data/2013-health-data-highlights.html <div class="field field-name-field-site-tags field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-inline clearfix"><div class="field-label">Site Tags:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/digitalstrategy/tags/api">API</a>, <a href="/digitalstrategy/tags/entrepreneur">Entrepreneur</a>, <a href="/digitalstrategy/tags/health-it">Health IT</a>, <a href="/digitalstrategy/tags/public-engagement">Public Engagement</a></div></div></div><div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even" property="content:encoded"><p>2013 was another landmark year for open data!  Across the Federal government all agencies worked to better manage data and information as assets for broader use by the public, private sector, developers and innovators in every industry.  In health data, HHS outlined its Strategy &amp; Execution plan detailing commitments to making its data assets openly available, implement or alter policies that support openness and transparency, and informing and educating contributors to creative innovations across the health and human services landscape.  In an effort to feature the progress made this past year, here are a few of the top stories in health data from HHS:</p> <ol><li><strong>Transparency in Hospital Inpatient and Outpatient Charges</strong>: In May and June 2013, Centers for Medicare &amp; Medicaid Services (CMS) released data on the <a href="http://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/Medicare-Provider-Charge-Data/index.html">average charges for the 100 most common Medicare hospital inpatient procedures and 30 selected outpatient procedures</a>. These data show significant variation in what hospitals charge for common services both across the country and within communities</li> <li><strong>Social Services Entries into the Publicly-Accessible Data World:</strong> 2013 Saw a significant increase in the volume of social services data the department made available.  Leading the charge the <a href="https://www.healthdata.gov/dataset/search?f%5b0%5d=ss_ckan_author%3AAdministration%20for%20Children%20and%20Families">Administration for Children and Families cataloged</a> over 25 datasets, building the capacity in social service data including a Head Start location application programming interface (API), Child Care Development Fund, and Refugee resettlement data.</li> <li><strong>County Level Geographic Variation and Chronic Condition Data</strong>: Also in June 2013, CMS released new data sets at the county level: one on <a href="http://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/Medicare-Geographic-Variation/GV_PUF.html">Medicare spending and utilization</a>, and another on <a href="http://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/Chronic-Conditions/Geographic-Data.html">Medicare beneficiaries with chronic conditions</a>. Both data sets enabled researchers, data innovators and the public to better understand Medicare spending and service use, spurring innovation and increasing transparency, while protecting the privacy of beneficiaries.</li> <li><strong>Geographic Variation Dashboard</strong>: In June 2013, CMS launched an <a href="http://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/Medicare-Geographic-Variation/GV_Dashboard.html">interactive dashboard</a> that presents information on state-level variation in standardized per-capita costs for the Medicare fee-for-service population. The interactive format allows users to select the indicator and year they want to display. Users can also compare data for a given state to the national average.</li> <li><strong>Launch of Data.CDC.gov</strong> – In mid-August the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) <a href="https://www.healthdata.gov/blog/hhs-2013-year-health-data-highlights#viltxmp8XrjQZ2rg.99">launched Data.CDC.gov</a> is the new data repository that hosts some of the CDC’s most popular data sets. In addition to increased access to data, <a href="http://data.cdc.gov/" target="_blank">Data.CDC.gov</a> is powered by the Socrata platform that allows users to filter syndicate and create easy visualizations with the data. These newly Application Programming Interface (APIs)-enabled data can be displayed using visualization tools.</li> <li><strong>MS Supporting Researchers</strong>: In November 2013, the CMS launched the <a href="http://www.resdac.org/cms-data/request/cms-virtual-research-data-center">Virtual Research Data Center (VRDC)</a> a secure and efficient means for researchers to virtually access and analyze CMS’s vast store of health care data. The VRDC offers researchers several advantages over the traditional shipped encrypted data files, including lower data costs and access to more recent data. The VRDC also offers greater security for CMS to share data with researchers.</li> <li><strong>Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K)</strong>: The National Institutes of Health's (NIH) announced the <a href="https://www.healthdata.gov/blog/transforming-big-data-big-knowledge#fmDsxkjkWZ6UVvKB.99">BD2K</a> program which aims to tackle the challenges of increasing volumes of scientific data.  The goal of this trans-NIH initiative is to develop new tools to analyze, organize, and standardize data so that it is easy for scientists to share and access. The program includes: a new data scientist leadership position, scientific data council for governance and oversight; new funding opportunities for creative minds to generate new tools; and plans to support workshops and training sessions to prepare our scientific workforce for this new era of high-volume biomedical data.</li> <li><strong>Project Tycho:</strong> In late November the <a href="https://www.healthdata.gov/blog/project-tycho-unlocking-125-years-data#mm7eYpbQup1776lg.99">University of Pittsburgh Project Tycho</a> announced it had unlocked 125 years of epidemiologic data using CDC datasets.  The project created a large data set that includes all weekly surveillance reports of nationally notifiable diseases for all U.S. cities and states published since 1888, and we have made these data publicly available (<a href="https://healthdata.gov/data/dataset/project-tycho-tm-level-1-data" target="_blank">Level 1</a> and <a href="https://healthdata.gov/data/dataset/project-tycho-tm-level-2-data" target="_blank">Level 2</a> data) The data set consists of 87,950,807 reported individual cases, each localized in space and time.</li> <li><strong>Integrating Data Catalogs:</strong> The catalog of data available on <a href="https://www.healthdata.gov/">HealthData.gov</a> crossed the 1000 dataset milestone underscoring the Department’s goal of making the platform a true discovery zone for health and social services data.  Throughout 2013 HHS worked to expand the catalog of public data resources available on the platform. Health data catalogs from various states, beginning with New York with later additions from Maryland, Colorado, and Washington, expanded the catalog and laid the foundation for broader data federation in 2014. </li> <li><strong>Engaging the Developer Community to Build Blue Button Enabled Apps</strong></li> </ol><p>During the summer the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) Consumer e-Health Program hosted two sold-out Developer Forums in New York and San Francisco to teach practical skills necessary to use <a href="http://www.bluebuttonplus.org/">Blue Button + standards</a> <a href="http://www.hhs.gov/disclaimer.html"><img alt="Site exit disclaimer" src="/digitalstrategy/sites/digitalstrategy/files/exit_disclaimer.jpg" style="width: 11px; height: 10px;" /></a> within patient applications and tools. To make <a href="http://www.bluebuttonplus.org/">Blue Button + standards </a><a href="http://www.hhs.gov/disclaimer.html"><img alt="Site exit disclaimer" src="/digitalstrategy/sites/digitalstrategy/files/exit_disclaimer.jpg" style="width: 11px; height: 10px;" /></a> easier to use, ONC released thousands of synthetic sample data sets and new Dev training and testing tools.  ONC also had a vibrant year with challenges and codeathons including:</p> <ul><li>The <a href="http://www.health2con.com/devchallenge/blue-button-co-design-challenge/#background">Blue Button Co-Design Challenge </a><a href="http://www.hhs.gov/disclaimer.html"><img alt="Site exit disclaimer" src="/digitalstrategy/sites/digitalstrategy/files/exit_disclaimer.jpg" style="width: 11px; height: 10px;" /></a> to expand our understanding of how patients want to use their clinical data and to increase the number of Blue Button + standards-enabled tools and applications.</li> <li>The <a href="http://www.healthit.gov/buzz-blog/electronic-health-and-medical-records/blue-button-codeathon-unlocking-data-empowering-patients/">“Power to the Patient” Codeathon</a> at Health 2.0’s annual conference, explored the future of Blue Button by making patient claims and Explanation of Benefitsdata easier to use and understand, and patient generated data useful in the clinical setting.</li> </ul><p>Looking ahead, 2014 promises to be another incredibly productive year for the development of applications and services powered by openly available health data.  The Department will continue to implement policies that further drive openness and transparency of the data it collects and curates.  We look forward to hearing more from you about the leading-edge ideas you have as contributors to this vibrant ecosystem of health innovation.</p> </div></div></div><div class="field field-name-field-article-cta-question field-type-text field-label-above"><div class="field-label">CTA Question:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Share your innovative use of our public health data below.</div></div></div> Thu, 16 Jan 2014 19:43:59 +0000 331 at http://www.hhs.gov/digitalstrategy HealthCare.gov Moving Forward http://www.hhs.gov/digitalstrategy/blog/2014/01/healthcare-gov-moving-forward.html <div class="field field-name-field-byline field-type-text field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Julie Bataille, Director of Communications, Centers for Medicare &amp; Medicaid Services</div></div></div><div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even" property="content:encoded"><p>Yesterday marked the final day to enroll in quality Marketplace coverage that begins on February 1<sup>st</sup>, and HealthCare.gov continued to perform very well under heavy consumer demand.  We had more than 618,000 visits to HealthCare.gov in the past 24 hours, and almost 1.9 million visits this week so far.   Site traffic and volume represents the highest since our December enrollment surge -- showing that there continues to be strong demand for affordable health coverage.  Consumers are applying, shopping and enrolling in coverage every day. </p> <p>HealthCare.gov now works for the vast majority of users: System error rates are low (averaging less than 0.5%); response times are consistently less than half a second; uptime is 99+%.  Our December enrollment surge demonstrated that existing system capacity can handle more than 1.8 million site visits per day – we even serviced over 83,000 users at once.  As we enter a new year and new phase of open enrollment we welcome consumers to come to HealthCare.gov and find quality health coverage that’s right for them.   </p> <p>Our efforts last fall were laser focused on improving the overall online consumer experience. As we enter the next phase of our work, our tech team remains vigilant in our focus –continuing to make improvements that will enhance the consumer experience—but now prioritizing functionality for HealthCare.gov that was less immediately needed for consumers to apply and enroll in coverage in the early days of open enrollment. </p> <p>Work remains on back end systems to automate and smooth intersections with third parties including health plans and states -- enabling them to connect more seamlessly to and from HealthCare.gov as needed – and to handle more complex consumer transactions important now that new coverage has begun for millions of Americans.</p> <p>Our work continues to be led by QSSI, who ably provides integration and technical oversight and is continuing to support our overall efforts in a senior advisory role – with a dedicated team from CMS and our business partners in place 24/7 to monitor the system in real time.  This team is handling live site issues and tracking them from start to finish from our Operations Center, identifying new bugs as they arise, and putting in software fixes that will continue to enhance the consumer interface and system performance as a whole.  We also now have significant consumer feedback from the past few months that is built into our ongoing work plan. </p> <p>We will approach this next round of work with the same focus and execution that our team is now accustomed to –with daily meetings led from our operations center and reports to senior leadership; ongoing dialogue and technical assistance with our partners in states and health plans; input from consumers and stakeholders; prioritization of key issues; and focus on accountability for those helping do this work. </p> <p>As CMS moves forward in our efforts to help consumers access quality, affordable health coverage, QSSI will work with us to oversee a smooth transition in work--where needed--among all of our contract partners to ensure that HealthCare.gov continues to serve consumers well for the duration of open enrollment and is further enhanced to meet future needs.</p> <p>We are pleased that HealthCare.gov has helped millions of Americans access health care. But, our work is not over. We have accomplished a great deal, but we have much left to do. We are keeping our eye on the ball to make sure HealthCare.gov works well--and steadily improves--as we invite new consumers to sign up for affordable, quality health coverage in the months ahead. </p> <p> </p> <p><em><span style="font-family: calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 19.179601669311523px;">This post is no longer accepting comments. If you want to learn more about the Affordable Care Act, please visit</span><a href="http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/" style="color: rgb(50, 108, 166); cursor: pointer; font-family: calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 19.179601669311523px;" title="Follow link">hhs.gov/healthcare</a><span style="font-family: calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 19.179601669311523px;">. If you have question about or need assistance with health insurance enrollment, please visit</span><a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/contact-us/" style="color: rgb(50, 108, 166); cursor: pointer; font-family: calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 19.179601669311523px;" title="Follow link">https://www.healthcare.gov/contact-us/</a><span style="font-family: calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 19.179601669311523px;">.</span></em></p> </div></div></div><div class="field field-name-field-site-tags field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-inline clearfix"><div class="field-label">Site Tags:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/digitalstrategy/tags/health-it">Health IT</a></div></div></div> Thu, 16 Jan 2014 15:08:51 +0000 330 at http://www.hhs.gov/digitalstrategy New Year, New Coverage, New Possibilities http://www.hhs.gov/digitalstrategy/blog/2014/01/new-year-new-coverage-new-possibilities.html <div class="field field-name-field-byline field-type-text field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Erin Poetter Siminerio, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology</div></div></div><div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even" property="content:encoded"><p style="margin-left:.5in;"><em>NOTE: this is the cross-post of a blog that originally appeared on the </em><a href="http://www.healthit.gov/buzz-blog/consumer/year-coverage-possibilities/"><em>HealthITBuzz blog</em></a><em> owned by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.</em></p> <p>For many of us, January is when we reflect on the past year, and think ahead to our hopes and goals for the year ahead. Every year, millions of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, and for many of us, that means resolving to improve our health. Ask your friends and family, and you’ll hear many of the same resolutions over and over again: eat better, get fitter, take better care of ourselves and our loved ones, and so on.</p> <p>But for the millions who are expected to gain health insurance coverage in 2014, these resolutions may take on a whole new significance. Many of you will resolve to get a long-overdue checkup, ask a doctor about a neglected health problem, or get needed preventive care.</p> <p>All of these goals are important, but I have a few other suggestions for anyone who might be resolving to take action on their health in 2014 by using health information technology tools (and truthfully, these resolutions could go on almost anyone’s list). Here are four ways you can use Health IT to improve your health in 2014:</p> <ol><li><strong>Ask your healthcare providers if they use and provide you access to electronic health records (EHRs). </strong>Increasingly, doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers use electronic health records that offer many advantages over paper records. One of the biggest advantages is that with EHRs, it should be easier to give patients copies of their records, or even provide the ability for patients to view their records online. Getting your records allows you to check their accuracy, share them with other people you trust, reference the information as needed, and access vital information in case of emergency. And by the way, as an American, you actually have a legal <a href="http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/understanding/consumers/righttoaccessmemo.pdf">right to access</a> your health records.</li> <li><strong>Look for the Blue Button.</strong> Here at ONC, we advocate that providers and insurers use the <a href="http://www.healthit.gov/bluebutton">Blue Button</a> symbol to make it easy for consumers to find and get their medical and claims information online. When you log into web portals provided by your health care providers and insurance companies, look for the Blue Button symbol. When you see it, you’ll know that you can get your health info so you can begin to use it, share it and plug it into other apps and tools. If you can’t find it, ask when they plan to offer this feature in the future.</li> <li><strong>Start a Personal Health Record (PHR).</strong> The information in your medical and insurance records only tells part of the story. You can use PHRs to add your own health information (like how you’re feeling from day to day, or whether you experienced any side effects from a particular medication), as well as combine copies of your records from multiple health care providers, like doctors, labs, or pharmacies, into one convenient place. Some PHRs even help you interpret information in your medical records, such as test results.</li> <li><strong>Try a health app or even a new wearable device.</strong> Did you resolve to change your diet? There’s an app for that. Did you resolve to quit smoking? There’s an app for that. Did you resolve to track your blood pressure, glucose levels, or heart rate? There’s an app for that, and that, and that. Did you resolve to exercise more? There are a number of devices that can help you keep track of your daily steps, for example, that will connect to some of the apps above. Look at your list of health-related resolutions, and see if there’s a well-reviewed app that might help you meet those goals.  Find <a href="http://www.healthit.gov/patients-families/stay-well#apps">tips on how to navigate the vast world of apps</a>.</li> </ol><p>Whatever you resolve to do this year, we wish you a very happy and healthy 2014.</p> <p>Tell us your health related resolution for 2014 and what technology you’ll use to achieve it. For some inspiring ideas, checkout the winners of last year’s <a href="http://healthynewyear.challenge.gov/">Healthy New Year Video Contest</a>.</p> <p> </p> <p><em><span style="font-family: calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 19.179601669311523px;">This post is no longer accepting comments. If you want to learn more about the Affordable Care Act, please visit</span><a href="http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/" style="color: rgb(50, 108, 166); cursor: pointer; font-family: calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 19.179601669311523px;" title="Follow link">hhs.gov/healthcare</a><span style="font-family: calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 19.179601669311523px;">. If you have question about or need assistance with health insurance enrollment, please visit</span><a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/contact-us/" style="color: rgb(50, 108, 166); cursor: pointer; font-family: calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 19.179601669311523px;" title="Follow link">https://www.healthcare.gov/contact-us/</a><span style="font-family: calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 19.179601669311523px;">.</span></em></p> </div></div></div><div class="field field-name-field-site-tags field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-inline clearfix"><div class="field-label">Site Tags:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/digitalstrategy/tags/health-it">Health IT</a></div></div></div> Fri, 10 Jan 2014 18:18:24 +0000 328 at http://www.hhs.gov/digitalstrategy HHS’s 2013 Twitter Year in Review http://www.hhs.gov/digitalstrategy/people-first/2013-year-in-review.html <div class="field field-name-field-site-tags field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-inline clearfix"><div class="field-label">Site Tags:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/digitalstrategy/tags/social-media">Social Media</a></div></div></div><div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even" property="content:encoded"><div class="storify"> <iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/HHSGov/2013-hhs-year-in-review/embed" title="The 2013 HHS Year in Review" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/HHSGov/2013-hhs-year-in-review.js"></script><p></p><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/HHSGov/2013-hhs-year-in-review" target="_blank">View the story "The 2013 HHS Year in Review" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div> </div></div></div><div class="field field-name-field-article-cta-question field-type-text field-label-above"><div class="field-label">CTA Question:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Did we miss your favorite tweet from 2013? Tell us below.</div></div></div> Thu, 02 Jan 2014 16:27:52 +0000 326 at http://www.hhs.gov/digitalstrategy HealthCare.gov: Meeting the Mark http://www.hhs.gov/digitalstrategy/blog/2013/12/healthcare-gov-meeting-the-mark.html <div class="field field-name-field-byline field-type-text field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Julie Bataille, Director of Communications, Centers for Medicare &amp; Medicaid Services</div></div></div><div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even" property="content:encoded"><p>December 24 and the days leading up to it were critically important for enrollment in Marketplace coverage.</p> <p>There's no question that, over this past weekend, Monday, and Tuesday, HealthCare.gov met the mark and did exactly what it was supposed to do--helping Americans from across the country find secure, quality health insurance coverage at an affordable price. </p> <p>Over this four-day period, response time averages held steady at about a half second and page error rates were low at less than half a percent.</p> <p>Monday, December 23, was our peak day. On Monday, the site was supporting 83,000 concurrent users while our queuing system was up, and it performed as designed.  For those queued, wait times were generally less than five to ten minutes and users were given the option of receiving an email telling them when they could come back and get right in. There were 129,000 people who took advantage of this opportunity and were invited back the same day to finish their applications.</p> <p>On Christmas Eve, the site had a total of 880,000 visits, with no queuing.</p> <p>The call center also received a high volume of calls on Monday and Tuesday, with 317,000 calls received on Christmas Eve alone.</p> <p>We're going to do everything we can to ensure a smooth transition period for consumers whose coverage begins on January 1. And we're going to continue to work to ensure every American who still wants to enroll in Marketplace coverage by the end of the open enrollment period is able to do so.</p> <p>If consumers have any questions regarding their coverage, they should call the insurer of their choice to, among other things, confirm enrollment or arrange payment of premiums, or the Marketplace call center at 1-800-318-2596. They can log in to their account to find out their insurer’s customer service line or <a href="http://marketplace.cms.gov/getofficialresources/publications-and-articles/contact-health-plan.pdf">browse through a directory on HealthCare.gov</a>. </p> <p>The Centers for Medicare &amp; Medicaid Services also has developed a number of <a href="http://marketplace.cms.gov/getofficialresources/publications-and-articles/publications-and-articles.html">consumer tips and fact sheets</a> (under "Fact Sheets") to help consumers understand their new coverage such as what consumers should know about going to their doctor or getting emergency care.</p> <p>We’ve seen the important progress made on HealthCare.gov, and we are going to keep working to make sure the consumer experience continues to improve throughout the open enrollment period. </p> <p> </p> <p><em><span style="font-family: calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 19.179601669311523px;">This post is no longer accepting comments. If you want to learn more about the Affordable Care Act, please visit</span><a href="http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/" style="color: rgb(50, 108, 166); cursor: pointer; font-family: calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 19.179601669311523px;" title="Follow link">hhs.gov/healthcare</a><span style="font-family: calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 19.179601669311523px;">. If you have question about or need assistance with health insurance enrollment, please visit</span><a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/contact-us/" style="color: rgb(50, 108, 166); cursor: pointer; font-family: calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 19.179601669311523px;" title="Follow link">https://www.healthcare.gov/contact-us/</a><span style="font-family: calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 19.179601669311523px;">.</span></em></p> </div></div></div><div class="field field-name-field-site-tags field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-inline clearfix"><div class="field-label">Site Tags:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/digitalstrategy/tags/health-it">Health IT</a></div></div></div> Fri, 27 Dec 2013 20:55:47 +0000 325 at http://www.hhs.gov/digitalstrategy Amazing Interest in Signing Up For January 1 http://www.hhs.gov/digitalstrategy/blog/2013/12/interest-signing-up-for-january-1-coverage.html <div class="field field-name-field-byline field-type-text field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Julie Bataille, Director of Communications, Centers for Medicare &amp; Medicaid Services </div></div></div><div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even" property="content:encoded"><p> </p> <p> </p> <p>It was a record day yesterday for healthcare.gov and the Marketplace. Healthcare.gov alone received a remarkable 2 million site visits and our call center received more than 250,000 calls as consumers were rushing to complete their applications. We see this intense traffic as a sign that people are eager for affordable health insurance. More than 129,000 individuals provided emails yesterday at HC.gov as part of the advanced queuing system. All of them received emails inviting them back the same day to complete their applications.</p> <p>CMS is spending today completing enrollments for individuals seeking affordable coverage beginning January 1. Volumes remain high, but not equal to yesterday and we have not had to deploy our queuing system on the site. We are taking thousands of calls at our call centers, which remain open until midnight, and we are seeing thousands of visitors complete enrollment online. </p> <p>What if you missed the deadline?</p> <p>Our highest priority is making sure that everyone who wants to enroll to have health care coverage by January 1 is able to do so, particularly since consumers had a hard time accessing HealthCare.gov in October and November. As such, we are making sure we can provide information directly to consumers if and when they have questions about their particular situation, and if they are covered as of January 1.</p> <p>Consumers who tried to enroll prior to today and had problems with the system should contact the Marketplace call center for individual assistance (The call center will be closed on Christmas and will reopen on the 26<sup>th</sup>). We have developed a robust casework process to address individual inquiries, respond to specific situations, and help consumers transition to new coverage. Consumers will hear directly from their health plan about the date their coverage is effective.</p> <p>In addition, CMS and health plans are continuing to reach out to consumers who’ve selected a plan to remind them of the final steps they must take to enroll in coverage, such as paying their bill, who to contact if they have questions, and how they can access care.</p> <p>Consumers who begin the process of selecting a health plan after today will be covered as of February 1.</p> <p> </p> <p><em><span style="font-family: calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 19.179601669311523px;">This post is no longer accepting comments. If you want to learn more about the Affordable Care Act, please visit</span><a href="http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/" style="color: rgb(50, 108, 166); cursor: pointer; font-family: calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 19.179601669311523px;" title="Follow link">hhs.gov/healthcare</a><span style="font-family: calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 19.179601669311523px;">. If you have question about or need assistance with health insurance enrollment, please visit</span><a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/contact-us/" style="color: rgb(50, 108, 166); cursor: pointer; font-family: calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 19.179601669311523px;" title="Follow link">https://www.healthcare.gov/contact-us/</a><span style="font-family: calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 19.179601669311523px;">.</span></em></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> </div></div></div><div class="field field-name-field-site-tags field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-inline clearfix"><div class="field-label">Site Tags:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/digitalstrategy/tags/health-it">Health IT</a></div></div></div> Tue, 24 Dec 2013 19:25:13 +0000 321 at http://www.hhs.gov/digitalstrategy Consumer Tips on the Last Day to Sign Up For January 1 http://www.hhs.gov/digitalstrategy/blog/2013/12/last-day-sign-up-for-january-1.html <div class="field field-name-field-byline field-type-text field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Julie Bataille, Director of Communications, Centers for Medicare &amp; Medicaid Services</div></div></div><div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even" property="content:encoded"><p>Today is a record day for <a href="http://healthcare.gov/">HealthCare.gov</a> and consumers seeking affordable health care options. As of 2:00 p.m. today, we’ve seen approximately 850,000 visits to <a href="http://healthcare.gov/">HealthCare.gov</a> – approximately five times higher than the same amount by that time last Monday.  This is on top of the more than 1.2 million site visits this weekend. The system is handling this record number of consumers who are completing their enrollments well, with a low overall error rate averaging less than 0.4 percent and quick response times averaging well less than a second despite the increased traffic.</p> <p>As expected given our high demand, with concurrent users reaching more than 60,000, just before 11:00 a.m. we deployed our advanced queuing system and will do so as needed throughout the day to allow consumers to successfully complete their applications with an optimal user experience. These decisions are being made in real time, based on site metrics and web traffic. Consumers can either wait or submit their email to be invited back to the front of the line to find affordable health coverage.  So far today, more than 60,000 consumers have provided an email address to get their invitation to return later.  </p> <p>The deadline for signing up for coverage to start January 1 is today. We recognize that many have chosen to make their final decisions on today’s deadline and are committed to making sure they can do so. Anticipating high demand, which we are currently experiencing, and the fact that consumers may be enrolling from multiple time zones, we have taken steps to make sure that those who tried to enroll today but had delays due to high traffic have a fail-safe. Consumers should not wait until tomorrow. If you are aiming to get coverage January 1, you should try to sign up today.</p> <p>Finally, we continue to work with insurers to confirm enrollment and inform consumers on their next steps to ensure that they are covered beginning January 1, including paying their first month’s premium to insurers. As announced last week, a number of insurance companies have decided to allow a later payment date for coverage to begin on January 1. Consumers should still check with their issuer to confirm the date their first month’s premium is due.  All consumers will have until at least Dec. 31 to pay, or at the time their issuer sets, as many plans have extended the deadline to Jan. 10.</p> <p>While today is a significant date for Americans looking to secure coverage beginning January 1<sup>st</sup>, it is important to remember that we are about halfway through the full six month open enrollment period. We will continue to work to ensure that HealthCare.gov and our other enrollment channels continue to improve and are available for consumers looking to sign up for affordable coverage by the end of March.</p> <p><strong>Consumers Tips:</strong></p> <ol><li>If you want insurance starting January 1 you should sign up today, but if you have trouble due to high-demand, we will make sure we help you get signed up.</li> <li>Open enrollment goes through March 31, 2014 – you can sign up for coverage any time through then.</li> <li>Even though you are signed up, you still need to pay your insurance company and follow-up with them about your new policy.</li> <li><strong>Three more months</strong>, that is the amount of time you have before open enrollment closes, so if you don’t need coverage Jan 1, you still have time.</li> </ol><p> </p> <p><em><span style="font-family: calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 19.179601669311523px;">This post is no longer accepting comments. If you want to learn more about the Affordable Care Act, please visit</span><a href="http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/" style="color: rgb(50, 108, 166); cursor: pointer; font-family: calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 19.179601669311523px;" title="Follow link">hhs.gov/healthcare</a><span style="font-family: calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 19.179601669311523px;">. If you have question about or need assistance with health insurance enrollment, please visit</span><a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/contact-us/" style="color: rgb(50, 108, 166); cursor: pointer; font-family: calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 19.179601669311523px;" title="Follow link">https://www.healthcare.gov/contact-us/</a><span style="font-family: calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 19.179601669311523px;">.</span></em></p> </div></div></div><div class="field field-name-field-site-tags field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-inline clearfix"><div class="field-label">Site Tags:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/digitalstrategy/tags/health-it">Health IT</a></div></div></div> Mon, 23 Dec 2013 05:00:00 +0000 323 at http://www.hhs.gov/digitalstrategy