Government // Leadership
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8/25/2009
10:46 AM
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner
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An Effective, If Odd, E-Health Tool

I admit to having a twisted sense of humor, so I got a lot of laughs out of the CDC's page of e-cards for all occasions--so long as the occasions are celebrated by hypochondriacs.

I admit to having a twisted sense of humor, so I got a lot of laughs out of the CDC's page of e-cards for all occasions--so long as the occasions are celebrated by hypochondriacs.I especially enjoyed this card to remind people to get prostate cancer exams. And when I say "enjoyed," I mean, of course, "laughed like an 11-year-old at a Three Stooges festival." I mean, for what occasion do you send a prostate exam e-card? Do I even want to know?

But Janice Hall, director of the division of e-health marketing for the CDC, set me straight. The e-health cards are designed to help people send each other reminders that might be a bit awkward to say for out loud. "I can remind my Mom to get her mammogram. There's an e-card on that," she said. Likewise, a prostate exam card can be sent from adult children to their fathers.

Consider swine flu. The CDC had 10,000 people sending e-cards on the H1N1 virus, she said. "I'm more likely to open an e-mail if it comes from someone I know and love," Hall said. Also, medical practices send the cards to their patients. The H1N1 e-card is part of a full-court press using a broad array of Internet channels to help people protect themselves against swine flu.

"You just don't want to get a chlamydia card," Hall said.

The cards:

"Mammograms Save Lives"

Flu prevention cards

STD cards and text messages

InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on e-health and the federal stimulus package. Download the report here (registration required).

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