Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Engaging the Consumer to Improve Healthcare

Engaging the Consumer to Improve Healthcare Some of the most important steps to improving health care begin with the people who drive the entire system – the public.

The health care industry has long recognized that when individuals are more engaged in their own care, the result is better clinical outcomes and greater cost-efficiency. So today, each of us is being asked to take on increasing responsibility for our well-being. Health care providers are encouraging patients to play a more active role in preventing illness and managing chronic conditions. Health insurers are empowering members with products that give them a greater range of benefits, a wider choice of providers and more flexibility in determining their deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses.

Indeed, Americans are no longer simply “members” of a health plan or “patients” of a provider; we are becoming “consumers” of health care – with all of the responsibilities the word implies. As consumers of other goods and services, we routinely attempt to make well-informed decisions to best meet our individual needs and desires. As consumers of health care, we also must learn to shop wisely. This requires a fundamental change in the way consumers interact with the health care system.

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