Research conducted by Kaiser Permanente presented at a panel discussion Feb. 26 entitled "American Voices - Aligned for Health" in Washington, D.C., analyzed millions of pieces of online data--tweets, posts, and articles--from 3,200 online physicians, 154 health reporters and the 458 members of Congress, and found "significant differences" in what each group talked about.
Perhaps not surprisingly, physicians focused on health education, reporters on the business of health, and Congress on the politics of health.
For instance, Congress and the journalists focused roughly 70 percent more than physicians on insurance and reimbursement topics. Physicians, meanwhile focused on high risk/low effort prevention behaviors--such as hand washing--483 percent more than the politicians.
"We're not saying that we should listen to one or the other or suggesting that any of the groups is right or wrong--all are appropriately focused on different aspects of healthcare for legitimate reasons. However, it's our belief and hope that effectively aligning key influencers around the health stories that are most beneficial for the American public could improve health literacy and, ultimately, our nation's overall health," Robert M. Pearl, M.D., executive director and CEO of The Permanente Medical Group said in its announcement.
The panel recommended that communication be more aligned by using more robust and transparent networks, building consensus on the balance between the "most important" health stories, monitoring progress with a public "dashboard," and keeping patient-centeredness first.