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HHS unveils 10-year health priorities

The US Department of Health and Human Services has unveiled the government's new set of 10-year objectives for health promotion and disease prevention

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has unveiled the government's new set of 10-year objectives for health promotion and disease prevention. The programme, called Healthy People 2020, includes a focus on chronic diseases as well as a new challenge for technology application developers.

The health priorities roadmap is the product of an extensive stakeholder feedback process that included input from public health and prevention experts, as well as from a wide range of federal, state and local government officials, a consortium of more than 2,000 organisations, and the public.

HHS said it considered more than 8,000 comments from the public and interested parties.
Based on those comments, a number of new areas were added to the programme, which has been setting 10-year goals for the past 30 years.

The new areas of focus reflect changing science (genomics) as well as concerns that are taking on new urgency as the population ages (dementia). Other new areas of focus include global health; early and middle childhood; health-related quality of life and well-being; healthcare-associated infections; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender health; sleep health; and social determinants of health.

Healthy People also issued a challenge for technology application developers "to create easy-to-use applications for professionals who are working with the new national health objectives and state- and community-level health data."

"The 'myHealthyPeople' apps challenge will help spur innovative approaches to helping communities track their progress using Healthy People objectives and targets as well as develop an agenda for health improvement," said HHS chief technology officer Todd Park.

In addition, HHS is launching a redesigned web site that allows users to tailor information to their needs and explore evidence-based resources for implementation, which can be found at www.healthypeople.gov.  

According to HHS, a preliminary analysis suggests that in the last decade, the country has either progressed toward or met 71 per cent of its Healthy People targets.

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) senior vice president Wes Metheny said the Healthy People 2020 programme "represents an important step forward" and stressed the pharma industry's focus on developing drugs to treat disease but also to help to control chronic illnesses.

6th December 2010

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