QUALITY/CONSUMERS: Wallace and some patient advocates

Information Therapy center chair Paul Wallace is from Kaiser Permanente, who quite logically would be interested in Ix.

He notes that the medical care cost, and the costs of poor health to employers far exceed the medical cost. (Absenteeism. etc)

He also notes that no consumer is involved in designing consumer directed health care. How do we get “skin in the game” not to be a blunt tool like managed care? And he explains that the revenue that would pay for the care of the 20% has left the system. let’s not use blunt tools to solve complex problems. That means using co-pays to access selective care, but not for pharmacy, well baby care, etc. And are there incentives to use information therapy in those decisions?

He has a vision of putting the patient centered care integrating this around patients not their diseases.

Then it’s on to two patient advocates. Sue Sheridan (who gave a harrowing speech last year that’s well worth re-reviewing) and Jesse Gruman from the Center from Advancement of Health. Sue has got the CDC to engage consumers in telling mothers about the risk that jaundice can cause brain damage. So eventually this fall they are putting out information that are right for new mothers—not about the disease but “how can my baby get hurt and how can I do something about it. Sue thinks fear is a gift that will motivate. Jesse is not so sure, but know that we need to arouse the anxiety just enough to give them something productive to do. Last year Jesse told us about “blunters and monitors.” In other words some people want the second opinion, want to know everything, but others want the doctor to tell them what to do. But there is no neutral health information. So the people trying to engage patients in health information have a major challenge. But Sue thinks that we should create the demand for patients to be engaged because if they’re more involved they’ll have better outcomes.

Jesse thinks that using marketing methodologies that retail et al use to make people buy stuff they don’t really want/need (e.g. data mining connections) needs to be used to deliver information therapy and make people integrate it in their life. We also need to tell people what we expect them to do.

One of the most interesting questions is from a Canadian who is telling about how consumer health information in his hospital (McMaster, in Hamilton Ontario) is worked out in conjunction with marketing academics. In the US he says that this stuff seems to be part of the marketing department, and be kept as proprietary information.

1 reply »

  1. I’m not sure I agree with Paul Wallace’s assertion that “no consumers are involved in designing consumer directed healthcare.” Consumers play a big role in the design and product offerings live (and in the pipe) at Vimo (http://www.vimo.com). That makes sense, because Vimo was built to serve consumers – not necessarily providers or carriers.
    If consumers aren’t involved in designing consumer directed healthcare, it’s because they either 1.) haven’t been invited to the party or 2.) have been consciously excluded.