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Can the Web Transform the U.S. Healthcare System?
Date:10/22/2007

One-day Conference Sponsored by Health Improvement Institute, Consumer Reports WebWatch

BETHESDA, Md., Oct. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Health Improvement Institute is organizing a one-day workshop Monday, November 12 to explore the future of health information on the Internet.

Held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Bethesda, Maryland, the workshop offers the opportunity for health experts, representatives of relevant organizations, and consumers to analyze the adequacy of Web-based health information, to discuss methods for publishing and evaluating health information on the Internet, and to explore strategies to improve the quality and utility of online health information.

Consumers are increasingly using and even depending on the Internet for health information. "Continuation of these trends, current pressures for transparency, and employers' shift to consumer-directed health plans will help to ensure that the Internet becomes the dominant mode of accessing health information, with potentially profound implications for people's health, our health care system, and society generally," said Peter Goldschmidt, the Institute's Founder and President and the workshop's organizer.

Workshop participants will hear presentations from experts regarding the future of health information online, searching for the truth, the value of trustmarks, transparency, and the evidence about evidence. Presenters will include: Joan Dzenowagis, Program Manager of e-health at the World Health Organization; Tom Eng, President of Healia, Inc; Greg Scandlen, Director of the Center for Consumer Driven Healthcare; Joshua Seidman, President of the Center for Information Therapy; and Beau Brendler, Director of Consumer Reports WebWatch.

After the presentations, participants will break into small workgroup discussions of their choice to address such questions as:

-- Do consumers care about the quality of health information? What consumers want and will use

-- Are trustmarks dead? The future of trustmarks, ratings, and consumer feedback

-- Will consumerism save the system? Information for consumers to make healthcare decisions

-- Does evidence make a difference? Gathering evidence and improving research for consumer decision-making

"Health is one of the most competitive information sectors on the Web, and advertisers are spending millions of dollars on Web sites, advertising and marketing," said Beau Brendler, Director of Consumer Reports WebWatch, one of the organizations sponsoring the workshop. "The consumer needs a clear path to useful information, avoiding pseudo-therapies and pharma-hype."

The 2007 event follows up the Institute's groundbreaking 1997 workshop on the "Quality of Health Information on the Internet -- telling Fact from Fraud." It will continue and expand the discussion started 10 years ago. Workshop results can be expected to have a national impact and the potential to influence future research, policy, and practice, as outcomes from the 1997 workshop demonstrated.

About the 2007 workshop: The interactive one-day workshop -- "Quality of Health Information on the Internet, 10 Years On" -- will be held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Bethesda, Maryland, November 12. The registration fee is $195.00, which covers all meals and materials. Small non-profit, consumer-focused organizations may qualify for a reduced fee.

About the Health Improvement Institute: Health Improvement Institute is a non-profit, tax exempt, 501(c)3, charitable organization dedicated to improving the quality and productivity of America's health care. The Institute's principal program objective is to provide information to enable people to make informed health care choices. The Institute has established expertise in evaluating the quality of health information on the Internet, conducts forms and workshops, and sponsors national awards programs to recognize excellence, including the Aesculapius Award for excellence in health communication. For more information, visit http://www.hii.org.

About Consumer Reports WebWatch:

Consumer Reports WebWatch (http://www.consumerwebwatch.org) serves as a daily resource of unbiased and trustworthy information, using the proven methods of Consumer Reports and other independently derived research methods. The WebWatch research agenda includes health, financial services, news and information sites, children's sites and general issues of concern to consumers on the Web, such as privacy, spyware and information security. Consumer Reports WebWatch at Consumers Union, the non-profit publisher of Consumer Reports magazine and ConsumerReports.org, acknowledges support of The Pew Charitable Trusts, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the Open Society Institute as instrumental to its founding and first five years of success. WebWatch's investigative reports, articles and news are available to the general public at ConsumerWebWatch.org. WebWatch accepts no advertising or corporate support whatsoever. WebWatch serves as a special unpaid adviser to the StopBadware.org project of The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School and the Oxford Internet Institute. WebWatch director Beau Brendler is a member of the At-Large Advisory Committee to the Internet Corporation for Assigning Names and Numbers (ICANN).


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SOURCE Health Improvement Institute
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