The first day of the 7th National Conference on Quality Care for Culturally Diverse Populations had fifteen “pre-conference” sessions. Here are a few highlights from the three sessions I attended:
Members and staff of the National Health Information Technology Collaborative for the Underserved presented on the opportunities that hospitals, physicians, community health centers and other providers will have to gain federal incentive payments to implement and “meaningfully use” electronic health records. The National HIT Collaborative for the Underserved is working with its partners to ensure that racial and ethnic minority and safety net providers are aware of the incentive payment opportunities as well as the technical assistance available. The Collaborative is also working to educate minority and underserved communities about how to use these health information and communications technologies to improve their health and reduce health care disparities.
Regional staff from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine presented on the many resources available from the network libraries, including many materials in multiple languages (e.g. Medline Plus) and formats (video, audio, large print, etc. – e.g. NIHSeniorHealth.gov). The staff also highlighted the importance of using appropriate health literacy when designing patient education materials and referenced many useful tools to include health literacy considerations in developing materials.
Finally, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health is inviting public comment for its National Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) Standards Enhancement Initiative. Public comment meetings will be held this Friday October 22 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Baltimore, on Thursday November 4 at the Stanford Court Renaissance Hotel in San Francisco, and Monday November 15 at the James Hotel in Chicago. Comments may also be submitted online.