The Heart of the Issue
Customized Social Network Stands to Have Major Impact on Health Policy
The National Forum for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention (The National Forum) had an ambitious vision to develop a new tool that would serve as a global hub for cardiovascular health policy. Called “Policy Depot,” the idea for the new tool was to give policy stakeholders the ability to share and develop policies that have worked for them and offer ideas and guidance on how to adapt policies to maximize effectiveness. The system will increase the capacity of policy stakeholders to develop and implement laws, policies and regulations to promote cardiovascular health and reduce risk for non-communicable diseases.
The Policy Depot is positioned to have a major impact on health policy related to treatment and prevention of cardiovascular and non-communicable disease around the world. Unlike the existing online policy clearinghouses that tend to lead users to broad policies and guidelines, Policy Depot allows users to discuss policy effectiveness, implementation and how policies can be applied to different countries, regions and populations.
Initially, The National Forum believed it would build Policy Depot around an existing set of policy data and information. But in the early stages of the project a few team members raised a critical question: How would the National Forum collect the data—which would include thousands of health policies and related information from countries across the globe— needed to meet the project’s mission? As Pantheon analyzed the issue, they saw an opportunity to innovate. A new crowdsourcing model was developed in which users, not The National Forum, would provide the core data and information.
“Pantheon has helped redefine and reposition our thinking,” explains Keith Mason, former executive director of the National Forum, “Pantheon really helped us structure the way we think about the tool itself on the Web. We had a conceptual idea and they helped bring it to reality. It drove us to get things done faster and on time. They pushed us to think about things differently and create a better project.”
Policy Depot allows users to
- Explore policy and best practices to learn what drives successful policy implementation. Users can view successes and challenges of existing policy interventions, coupled with information about the characteristics and policy environments of the places in which they were implemented.
- Participate through events conferences and training courses relevant to the user’s area of interest.
- Connect with other cardiovascular health policy experts throughout the world.
- Discuss the successes and challenges of existing policy interventions and share information about successes, challenges and characteristics about the policy environments at local and national levels around the world.
Policy Depot also offers cardiovascular policy stakeholders a direct path to their specific areas of interest. One of its main components is the “policy profile,” which walks users through an evolving series of questions about their policy background, characteristics of the environment in which they utilize policy, experiences, policy interests and other aspects that define their policymaking approach. Users are directed to sub-groups of others who share their interests.
According to Mason, Pantheon offered specific healthcare policy subject matter expertise that was a game-changer in terms of building a successful partnership. He added, “Pantheon is one of the sources of input we’ve valued the most throughout this process, because they have experience thinking more broadly as opposed to our single focus… They have a machine-like process that we appreciate. It allows us to think big, put it through their filter, and come up with something workable.” Policy Depot launched in September 2012.
“Everyone who looks at the product Pantheon is creating is impressed,” Mason said. “We expect this to be a big deal, and a lot of that is due to the technology we’ve put in place. It has the potential to have a huge policy impact.”