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 and Engaging Patients as Partners
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:
- Giving patients access to their health care visit notes;
- Understanding the landscape and role of Patient and Family Advisory Councils at hospitals across New York State;
- Integrating the consumer voices into the certificate of need planning process; and
- Improving discharge planning so that patients and caregivers have the information they need to make decisions about post-acute care options.
For more information about this priority area, contact Program Officer Amy Shefrin
As Program Officer at the New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth), Amy Shefrin works with program staff, grantees, and key stakeholders to develop new ideas and practical solutions to policy questions. She manages projects related to NYSHealth’s work on empowering health care consumers to better advance the needs of patients and consumers in the health care system. She has worked on a wide range of projects, including efforts to innovate new models and payment arrangements, maximize enrollment in coverage, address the needs of undocumented immigrants, inform implementation of health reform in New York State, expand safety-net providers, leverage federal options for high-need populations, and pursue emerging opportunities.
Ms. Shefrin brings to NYSHealth a background in nonprofit capacity building, coverage expansion initiatives, and research and analysis designed to directly inform policy. Prior to joining NYSHealth in August 2011, she served as a senior analyst at the U.S. Government Accountability Office, conducting health policy studies for Congress. Previously she worked for the New York City Mayor’s Office of Health Insurance Access to expand access to coverage in the public and private health insurance markets. Ms. Shefrin has also worked for the U.S. Senate, the New York City Office of Management and Budget, and the National Center for Law and Economic Justice.
Ms. Shefrin holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from New York University and a Master of Public Administration degree from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.