Health IT, At Least On The Big Island, Starts With Fresh Vegetables And Gardening

Mary Mosquera | Government Health IT | August 30, 2012

The first step for gaining patient buy-in for the use of health IT may start with fresh vegetables and gardening, a gateway to start thinking about and owning your health. That's what the Hawaii Island Beacon Community did after brainstorming about how to gain the interest and engagement of individuals for electronic health records (EHRs) and health information exchange. The beacon started with non-tech community activities about wellness, healthy eating, exercise and gardening.

It’s a way to build trust, according to Jessica Yamamoto, Hawaii beacon’s community engagement manager. The Hawaii beacon is one of 17 model communities around the nation using health IT to improve individual patient outcomes, bolster population health and, in the process of both, lower costs.

It is focused on improving care for individuals on the Big Island with diabetes and other chronic conditions to avoid hospital re-admissions and help patients better understand and get involved in their care. The beacon has funded 19 Healthy Eating, Active Living (HEAL) projects proposed by individuals and groups in a number of communities on the Big Island...