One of the speakers at the plenary session on the final day of the 7th National Conference on Quality Health Care for Culturally Diverse Populations was Dr. M. Chris Gibbons from the Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute. Dr. Gibbons is the editor of eHealth Solutions for Healthcare Disparities (Springer, 2008).
Dr. Gibbons described how most of the current attention on health information technology is on health care providers and health care systems but that patients and health care consumers are already using many types of communications and information technologies. For example, he highlighted recent data that African Americans and Latinos are using mobile phone devices to access the internet at rates up to double their white counterparts. Dr. Gibbons laid out a vision and a challenge to use this connectivity and the existing use of these technologies to reach, educate, engage and empower patients and communities as health information technologies are implemented.