CONSUMERS/TECH: Data and more impressions from Information Therapy conference

More from Park City….

Shorter Mark Bard (Manhattan Research)– two thirds of docs are suggesting that younger female patients go to the web, but there’s no financial mechanism for it, and no real business case for physicians to do better websites, eVisits, or anything much else so far.

Shorter Susan Denzter (PBS NewsHour Corespondent) (via phone as she’s on the way to cover Rita) — Consumers don’t understand numbers, they don’t understand simple instructions, and simple numeracy and literacy is a big challenge especially among the elderly and less educated, which is a lot of people. Plus no-one understands (and this includes journalists and drug detail people) the difference between relative and absolute risk. And people make irrational choices even when presented with the correct information. She calls it not Information Therapy, but Information Fughedaboutit. So she asks her sources to talk to her on air as if she’s an intelligent 12 year old. So there are lots of reasons why information is good but no way is it enough to explain behavior.

I’m reminded of the time that at IFTF we put the California HEDIS measurements up on one chart and asked the audience to pick their health plan by looking at it. It was a rainbow of conflicting color-coded circles. No one could figure out until about a year after we’d been showing it one bright guy said "look you should join Cigna Southern California as they do the best on the most measures".  And he was right.  Then we told him that Cigna Southern California was the staff-model Medicaid HMO with clinics in Compton and South-Central LA.  Somehow we felt that that information, even though it was irrelevant to objective care measures, may well have swayed his choice of plan.

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//Consumers don’t understand numbers, they don’t understand simple instructions// Another factor is consumers may not have time for understanding or engaging in learning curve. Often efforts to educate the consumer are accompanied by a massive disrespect for the consumer’s time. It’s not just about the consumer’s family, job, and other responsibilities – it’s about all the different sectors who are foisting small print on the consumer. Then bad things happen – and it’s not because the consumer was stupid or irresponsible, it’s because the reality is that people have to prioritize their time, and they have to make choices about… Read more »