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Healthcare.gov Has Finally Launched, and It's Actually A Pretty Good Online Health Resource

A new government healthcare website that's actually quite helpful, an interactive health literacy resource, and more.

I hope this blog post finds everyone happy and rested after the July 4th festivities. We have a child who dislikes loud fireworks, so my family stayed indoors and watched videos of fireworks displays from across the country, from New York City to Santa Barbara. Technology -- you gotta love it.

It’s here: the Healthcare.gov website was formally launched last week, designed primarily to help people find appropriate financial support (insurance, community programs, etc) for healthcare. According to the Christian Science Monitor, some expected information and functionality are outstanding, such as insurance policy price information (which, as you can imagine, insurers aren’t exactly happy to provide). The site does provide a link to Hospital Care, an HHS website that allows you to compare hospitals based on a variety of quality measures. It’s a start. Let’s see how many people actually use it.

Are we overtesting in the US or not testing enough? And why are we still debating the issue on such a high level?

On the health literacy front, Healthwise, a non-profit organization, has been recognized by the Center for Plain Language for its interactive program, the Healthwise Information Therapy (IX) Conversation on Dealing With Low Back Pain. This was noted in an article in the Wall Street Journal highlighting current multimedia solutions offered to counter the challenges that clinicians face in ensuring that their patients understand and can be informed regarding medical conditions. This kind of stuff doesn’t get the press that EHRs do, but it is addressing an important and ever-growing issue. Is there an app for the iPhone or Android phones for health literacy yet? Please leave a comment if you know of one.