New York State Health Foundation

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Empowering Health Care Consumers

Empowering Health Care Consumers

New Yorkers find the health care system hard to understand and navigate. Information about prices and quality is opaque, the system is often unresponsive to consumers’ needs and preferences, and patients are not engaged in shared decision-making with their health care providers. Too often, consumers and patients are marginalized rather than placed at the center of the health care system and treated as its most important customers.

To ensure that consumers have the tools, resources, and support they need, the Foundation is focused on two strategies: (1) promoting information transparency and (2) engaging patients as partners in health care decision-making.

Promoting Information Transparency in Price, Quality, and Patient Experience

We are fostering greater transparency in health care so that the information New Yorkers want most is public, accessible, usable, and actionable. Increased transparency of price, quality, and patient experience information will enable consumers to make better health care decisions for themselves. It will also help other stakeholders—employers, doctors, hospitals and government—to make better decisions that benefit New Yorkers and increase consumers’ access to needed information.

Projects in this area include:

  • Building the evidence for price and quality transparency and the state’s role in advancing it;
  • Helping health care stakeholders understand what consumers want, through a statewide survey on price transparency;
  • Encouraging the health care system’s use of patient-experience and user-generated ratings such as Yelp; and
  • Supporting tools for consumers to make health care decisions related to pregnancy, hospitals and doctors, and health insurance plan selection.

Engaging Patients as Partners in Clinical and Health Policy Decision-Making

We are supporting New Yorkers to have a meaningful role as partners both in their own health care and at the policy level. At the clinical level, providers should ensure that patients have access to their own health information so that they are more empowered to get their needs met and have a voice in health care decisions. At the policy level, patients and consumers should have a seat at the table to help drive and inform decisions that affect health care policy, access, and costs in New York State.

Projects in this area include:

For more information about this priority area, contact Program Officer Amy Shefrin at or Program Assistant Victoria Casani at

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Program Impact: Improving Transparency and Affordability to Empower Consumers
What we are doing How we measure progress Where we started Where we have been Where we are now What this

Increase the transparency of health care price information for consumers. 

By the end of 2016, at least 12 hospitals in New York State voluntarily disclose prices for services. 

2015: 3 hospitals

2015: 3 hospitals

Improve consumers' access to and use of health care price and quality information. 

By the end of 2018, New York State has a consumer shopping tool that contains user-friendly price and quality information for the 200 most commonly performed health care services.

2015: No comprehensive tool exists. 

2015: No comprehensive tool exists. FAIR Health is beginning work to develop a comprehensive, consumer-friendly tool.

Social Context: Improving Transparency and Affordability to Empower Consumers
How we Measure the Social Context for our Work Where New York Started Where New York Has Been Where New York Is Now

New York's rating on Catalyst for Payment Reform annual Report Card on State Price Transparency Laws. 

2014 Catalyst for Payment Reform Grade: F


2015 Catalyst for Payment Reform Grade: F