2003 Conference Attendees Link Information Technologies to Improved Health of Underserved Populations

Conference on the use of information and communication tecnologies to help underserved populations

Staff and members of the American Medical Informatics Association, Bethesda, Md., organized and held a conference in May 2003 entitled "Bridging the Digital Divide: Informatics and Vulnerable Populations."

Key Results:

  • The conference was held May 28–30, 2003, in Philadelphia, Pa. The conference focused on the use of information and communication technologies to enhance the health and provision of health care to underserved populations.

    The conference attracted 187 participants, including experts in medical informatics, health care professionals, policy-makers, consumer advocates and students.
  • Following the conference, the American Medical Informatics Association produced a white paper with recommendations for developing a national agenda for using information and communication technology to improve the health and health care of underserved populations.

    The paper, "Bridging the Digital Divide: Reaching Vulnerable Populations," appeared in the in the November/December 2004 Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. Among the recommendations were:
    • Create a policy of universal, lifelong health information technology for all people and associated funding for ubiquitous access.
    • Re-engineer provider financial incentives to promote patient-specific health education.
    • Consider the characteristics of unique populations when designing research.
    • Emphasize reading and health literacy in primary level education.

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