The health IT movement is fast and furious.Â Paper-based health records are quickly moving online where health information can be collected, stored, and shared electronically. Policymakers are aware of the movement - the federal government just committed $19 billion in the economic recovery legislation for health IT efforts.Â Â Providers for the most part are also in the know - they've either already embraced the technology, or will likely do so in the near future.Â But how clued in are consumers about health IT?Â Do they know what an electronic health record (EHR) is, or how their health information is used or disclosed?Â Likewise, do consumers understand health privacy laws and their protections under the law in the event their health information is misused?Â These are important questions to consider as we move forward; educating and engaging consumers about health IT and privacy is integral to building trust and, ultimately, the success of health IT. The importance of educating and engaging consumers on health IT and privacy issues is underscored by a provision in the economic recovery legislation that requires the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to create and maintain a multi-faceted national education initiative. The purpose of this initiative is to educate consumers about the uses of their health information, the effects of such uses, and their rights in the event information is misused.Â The initiative's programs must be offered in different languages, and provide consumers with information that is clear and understandable.
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