Last week, The Network for Excellence in Health Innovation (NEHI) released a new report that outlines steps for greater transparency in health care. The report states that helping consumers make well-informed decisions can lead to higher quality of care, greater patient satisfaction and better use of the nation’s health care resources.
After interviewing health care industry experts, holding a discussion with thought leaders and reviewing existing research, NEHI found that most consumers make medical decisions without proper support. Choosing a doctor, hospital, health insurance plan or a course of medical treatment can be overwhelming, and these information gaps in the system cost both consumers and the nation. Their research revealed:
- Consumers often don’t know that they may have multiple treatment options or that health care costs can vary widely for the same service.
- While there are tools to help consumers with the decision-making process, these tools are not consistently available or useful.
- If consumers make the wrong decision when selecting a health plan or provider, there could be expensive consequences.
Based on their research, NEHI proposes a nine-step process to help consumers make more informed decisions and provides a number of recommendations. This includes a public awareness campaign, better marketing of the tools available to consumers and policy recommendations for lawmakers.
As our health care system continues to evolve, it is important to ensure that consumers have access to the right tools at the right time when making important decisions regarding their care.
Read the full NEHI report here.
Katie Koziara Katie is a manager of public affairs at PhRMA focusing on the cost and value of medicines. She previously ran the social media strategy for a D.C.-based non-profit working on federal management and leadership issues. Outside the office, Katie can be found running on the mall, brunching with friends and cheering on the Michigan Wolverines.
Topics: health insurance