The summer months tend to fly by, so it's really not too soon to start planning for an annual opportunity to promote your practice, National Health IT (NHIT) Week, which will take place Sept. 10-14.
HIMSS initiated NHIT Week in 2006 to bring national attention to the value of advancing health IT. It is a virtual event with a variety of activities scheduled from coast to coast. Participants include providers, payers, vendors, pharma/ biotech companies, government agencies, industry/ professional associations, research foundations, consumer protection groups and others.
Here (with hyperlinks to helpful online tools, courtesy of HIMSS and NHIT Week) are 10 ways you can get involved:
1) Distribute a news release. NHIT Week organizers have prepared a template called the "Swiss cheese" news release. Simply fill in the blanks and distribute the release to local healthcare and IT reporters, editors and broadcast producers in your city. Add the NHIT logo to your release to show this event is about more than just your practice. Encourage stories about local health IT projects and investments.
2) Write an op-ed piece. Draft an op-ed (700-800 words) to place in your city's newspaper. The op-ed should focus on NHIT Week and discuss why patients and healthcare facilities – from doctors' offices to emergency rooms – benefit from health IT. Also consider writing a blog post of similar nature for online publications.
3) Conduct a tour of your practice. Invite local and state/federal officials (e.g., your congressional representative, state legislators, state health IT coordinator) to tour your practice. Highlight how technology, specifically EHRs,, are simplifying and improving the delivery of medical care.
4) Reach out to reporters. Contact reporters to set up one-on-one appointments to discuss NHIT Week activities. Also consider briefing several reporters at once by holding a media session.
5) Host a NHIT Week seminar. Gather state policy experts, health IT professionals and other stakeholders to participate in a seminar during which you provide the latest information about health IT. Invite internal employees, elected and appointed officials, the media and the public.
6) Proclaim NHIT Week. Work with your mayor's or governor's office to proclaim Sept. 10-14 as NHIT Week in your city or state. Publicize the proclamation for maximum benefit.
7) Promote NHIT Week internally. Communicate with your internal stakeholders by displaying the NHIT Week poster in hallways, offices, cafeterias and elevators, as well as on bulletin boards and vending machines. You can also place an article in your internal newsletter or on your intranet.
8) Develop a NHIT Week social media strategy. Get the word out about NHIT Week by using your existing social media outlets – or establish new ones. Post a blog, tweet about #NHITweek, and highlight NHIT Week on your existing Facebook account, practice website and other digital media outlets.
9) Incorporate NHIT Week into an upcoming activity. Already thinking about an upcoming announcement or event at your practice? Schedule it to take place during the week of Sept. 10-14. That way you can recognize NHIT Week as part of your activity.
10) Promote NHIT Week in your existing communications. Add the NHIT Week logo to your e-mail signatures and your practice's internal calendar. In doing so, you'll let your network colleagues know that your practice is celebrating NHIT Week and the benefits that health IT brings to patients and providers.
Note, too, that your practice can take part in NHIT Week events in Washington, D.C., including the 11th Annual HIMSS Policy Summit, a Capitol Hill press conference and professional development seminars.