Susannah Fox: Government should engage in conversation with public on healthcare

Government workers should be part of the healthcare conversation, and while federal employees should not control those discussions they can "seed it with facts and ideas," according to Health and Human Service Department Chief Technology Officer Susannah Fox.

Fox (pictured), in a post for the HHS Idea Lab Blog, says online communication is one way to get the conversation started between the government and the public on healthcare issues.

She points to other industries' experiences with this. That includes at Procter & Gamble, where they monitor public conversation through social media.

"The truth of people's lives is displayed online and the best way to market to them is to respect that truth," Fox says. "P&G--and savvy public health leaders--learn by listening in on the natural conversations people have about their choices."

She also points to young adult fiction writer John Green's use of online communication to interact with his fans and promote his art.

In the spirit of these initiatives, Fox says, she is looking to start the conversation online about how the government can "listen more than ask" and what they can do online to show public input is welcome.

Public comment is often welcome when it comes to initiatives in the healthcare industry. For example, when the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT released its draft for a shared nationwide roadmap for interoperability in January, the draft was open for public comment.

Fox was tapped for the HHS CTO role in May, and at the time said she was drawn to the position by the ability it offers to "shine a spotlight on the role that citizens play in strengthening the health of our country."

To learn more:
- read Fox's post