Connecting Consumers to Information: Helping Physicians Empower Their Patients
Empowering Health Care Consumers
February 27, 2018
A lack of price information transparency makes it difficult for consumers to make fully informed health care decisions.
Access to reliable quality information is equally important, as it can drive a life or death decision. Although consumer information tools are available, use of price and quality websites and tools is low, as many people are unaware of them. However, research suggests that consumers do want information on cost and quality, but do not know where to find it; an NYSHealth-supported survey by Public Agenda found that at least half of consumers search for cost and quality information in multiple places. Still, consumers continue to look to their physicians as a source of price and quality information. In February 2018, NYSHealth awarded New York State Academy of Family Physicians (NYSAFP) a grant to make physicians and their staff members aware of available price and quality tools and spread their uptake among patients.
Under this grant, NYSAFP engaged clinical and nonclinical staff at family medicine practices, connecting patients to available price and quality tools and resources. NYSAFP exists as one of two hubs of statewide associations of primary care providers to participate in this initiative. It educated primary care providers on how to engage patients in conversations about cost or quality choices. Providers who became early adopters received assistance on how to incorporate use of decision assistance tools into a practice’s culture. NYSAFP identified technical assistance needs of practices and targeted resources appropriately. Finally, NYSAFP collected feedback from providers regarding their experiences discussing consumer decision-making tools with patients and shared that information with tool developers.