You want solutions for consumer ignorance about health IT? OK

Monday in FierceHealthIT, I wrote a commentary about a new study from the California HealthCare Foundation that found that consumers still equate more care with better care. The study, published in Health Affairs, concluded that evidence-based medicine is a foreign concept among the general public.

In my commentary, I derided the whole premise of the report. I mean, many people in healthcare aren’t completely clear about what evidence-based medicine is. I also criticized mass media for not doing a good job educating the public about quality of care, particularly in the sham of a debate over health reform in the last year or so. It’s not the first time I’ve said something to this effect.

Within three hours of my commentary being posted, one anonymous coward posted the following comment on the FierceHealthIT page: “So Neil, instead of the snark, how about some solutions? You’re a journalist – isn’t the public’s ignorance your failing?”

Well, Mr. or Ms. Coward, no, the public’s ignorance is not my failing. If I had had access to mainstream news outlets, I would have asked the tough questions of the politicians, policymakers and lobbyists, not fueled the red herring of a debate over whether healthcare reform was about government control or not. It’s quality, stupid. I continue to try to pitch mainstream media about freelance gigs, but, alas, everyone’s either cut their freelance budgets to the bone or they won’t give the time of day to someone they don’t know or who doesn’t have some kind of insider connection.

And, to Coward’s other point, I have offered some solutions. If you weren’t so knee-jerk in your anonymous condemnation of my snark, you would know that I recently wrote a piece for journalists about covering EHRs and related health IT topics.
It’s over on the site of the Reporting on Health project at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication.

While you’re at it, you might want to check some of my other Fierce columns about how people both in the media and the health IT industry need to do a better job of communicating the issues. They’re not hard to find. In fact, here’s one to get you started.

Next time, don’t be such a coward. And an uninformed one at that.