How Can Clinicians Help Shape Health Policy?

This post originally appeared on the Project HealthDesign Blog.

Libby Dowdall, Communications Coordinator, Project HealthDesign National Program Office 

Did you know clinicians can help guide federal conversations about health IT? Whether you’re a nurse, physician, health coach or other clinician, you have a unique perspective. Many clinicians are close to the patient experience and are able to translate their understandings of day-to-day health care operations into stories and statements that can impact policy-makers.

Project HealthDesign Director Patricia Flatley Brennan, Ph.D., R.N., shares four tips for clinicians who want to help shape health policy:

  1. Scan for opportunities.
    Think about the patients and caregivers you interact with on a day-to-day basis. What types of public policy issues would impact their daily experiences? Visit regulations.govto review policies that are currently open for public comments.
  2. Develop partnerships.
    Contact your state nurses’ organization, an organization that advocates for patients with a particular care concern or a group at your clinical site. Ask these groups to help you understand what policy issues are important and timely.
  3. Develop a message.
    Think about how new public policies might impact your patient population. Then state your message clearly and concisely.
  4. Make your statement.
    Visit to leave a comment on a federal regulation, or write a letter to your state legislator to let him or her know how a proposed policy might intersect with your patient population’s needs.

To get started, consider commenting on a proposed rule regarding patients’ access to test reports. Comments close November 14.