There has never been a time in which community health centers have had greater opportunities to reach out and engage with a patient population that could greatly benefit from continuous engagement and communication. Electronic patient engagement tools such as patient portals, health apps, text messaging services and other social networking technologies have ushered in a more sustainable and varied number of channels of activation and engagement. On top of this, the price of mobile communication technologies has decreased enough to the point where it is affordable even within underserved populations. Despite these opportunities, the challenge remains considerable due to a variety of socio-economics issues that have traditionally limited the ability to sustain care to underserved populations.
The challenge before health centers now is to leverage these new messaging channels effectively and safely without overly increasing the burden of adoption for their patients. Within this guide a framework has been developed for bridging the gap between the promise of electronic engagement and the special conditions of the community health center setting. The guide provided below builds off the framework first outlined in the article "A Multidimensional View of Personal Health Systems for Underserved Populations". This new and updated guide addresses the new technologies, policies, and organizational challenges that health centers are dealing with and provides strategies for effective adoption and decision support tools for determing best methods of deployment.