CHAusa — Are You Registered?

September-October 1999


Dr. Warren is Web editor, Catholic Health Association, St. Louis.

In this column, I want to ask some frank questions to figure out why more than seven out of 10 members of the Catholic Health Association are still not registered users of the association's Web site, CHAusa — and therefore not enjoying the full extent of benefits provided by the association.

This column is not for the CHA members who are already registered users of CHAusa. By and large, these members understand the value of having access — at no additional cost — to a substantial collection of tools and resources for the Catholic healthcare ministry. These members peruse Daily News; investigate the corporate responsibility collection; keep up to date on advocacy resources and alerts; and take advantage of having ethics statements and directories, sponsorship materials, a congressional database, and the best practices of other members instantly available. So if you're already a registered user of CHA's Web site, please take a moment to copy this column for someone who isn't registered and then invest the time you would have spent reading this to instead profit from other material in this issue of Health Progress.

Educate Me
OK. By now all the registered users should have left the room, and you (the unregistered) and I can have a frank discussion.

So tell me — don't be shy — why aren't you a registered user of CHAusa? Yes, the lady in the back almost obscured by the pile of papers in front of her.

"I don't have access to the Internet."

Well, that's certainly a good reason. But if you don't have Internet access, CHA would like to know if you expect to have access any time in the future and if the association should be thinking about how to help the ministry get fully wired.

How about you, sir — the gentleman with the natty bow tie and rakishly tilted fedora.

"I don't use the Internet."

I can respect that, but I'd like to understand more clearly what you mean. Do you mean you dislike the idea of this technology and prefer to avoid any involvement with computers? Or do you mean you would like to take advantage of resources like CHAusa but aren't certain what to do? Or are you concerned that you would have to master incredibly complicated technology?

If you want nothing to do with Web sites, bulletin boards, and interactive virtual experiences, then CHA will make sure you stop getting assaulted by its invitations to log on. But if you would like to learn how to use CHAusa, then CHA needs to know if we should be increasing our efforts to make our members more comfortable with using the Internet and creating opportunities for effective computer education.

But maybe none of the above is what you mean: What you really mean is that the medium of a Web site doesn't give you what you need how you need it. Maybe the current model being pursued by CHA for distributing information electronically doesn't work the way you do. Do you find other media — such as our newspaper or this journal — more effective ways of receiving information? Would a greater use of e-mail help meet your needs? If you don't use the Internet, then please let CHA know why not and what we can do instead.

Perhaps what you mean when you say "I don't use the Internet" is that you don't believe you have time to visit CHAusa. Our research shows that if you are a ridiculously busy person then you don't have time not to take advantage of CHA's Web site. Please contact me after this meeting for a personal demonstration of how the information you want and need is available faster, easier, and cheaper through CHAusa.

Don't Leave Yet
Excuse me, Father, I see you're about to head out the door. Before you go, could you just say why you aren't a registered user of CHAusa?

"Someone else uses the Internet for me."

Ah, so a coworker is responsible for monitoring CHAusa. In that case, let us know that CHA should be directing its information about the benefits of being a registered user to that person instead of trying to reach you. (Of course, everyone who works for a CHA-member institution is eligible to become a registered user of the Web site, so there's really no reason for anyone to register under anyone else's name.)

I've noticed that throughout this discussion the two of you right here in front have had consistently exasperated expressions. I hope I haven't been upsetting you.

"The information I need just isn't on your Web site."

Although CHAusa is huge (thousands of pages), is updated daily, and provides materials from every service area of the association, of course there are ministry needs as yet unmet. The good news is that the Web site has a record of growing by meeting more and more ministry needs. If what you need isn't available at CHAusa, then please ask for it.

For example, that's what Arlene Stepnick, PhD, director, parish nurse ministry, Bon Secours Health System-Hampton Roads, Norfolk, VA did. Stepnick realized that there was no place on the Internet for parish nurses to discuss their concerns; working with Stepnick, CHAusa created a bulletin board to address that need and established a special section for posting resource materials for parish nursing.

Always remember that CHA's Web site has the flexibility to serve as ministry-wide space that can be used by all members of our community. My job is to facilitate that, and you will find me an eager listener.

Just in Time
Hello, Sister, you're not too late; please come in. We've been talking about the various reasons why many CHA members aren't yet registered users of the association's Web site.

"I've been meaning to get registered for CHAusa — our CEO keeps raving about the Daily News — but I never seem to get around to it. I'm not sure how to get registered, and I don't know if I can afford it."

Don't let budget issues stop you from becoming a registered user of CHAusa; registration is absolutely free. It's also very easy: just go to www.chausa.org/register.asp and fill out the brief form. I promise you won't be asked to reveal intimate details about your purchasing habits, your real birth date, or your medical history.

I can't register for you, but if you want me to call you up and refuse to get off the phone until you've submitted the registration form, just let me know. Really, getting registered is something you can do, and it will open up a plethora of resources to you that will help you do your job better.

Thanks, and Come Again
Thank you very much for attending this discussion. Although we're out of time, please don't hesitate to call me, send me e-mail, deliver a note by carrier pigeon, or even exercise your telepathic powers to let me know why you still aren't a registered user of CHAusa. I don't just want to know; I want to do something about it.

David Warren welcomes your feedback at 314-253-3464.


Copyright © 1999 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3477.

CHAusa - Are You Registered

Copyright © 1999 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States

For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3490.