Accountable care demands that the system sync with the preferences and choices of the consumer purchasing the services. In order to get to real health value, consumer-patients must make the health care decisions that improve personal health and do not derail personal bank accounts. It was hard to piece these together for the last 15 years. Now, with high deductible plans, more transparency for costs, and on-time digital connectivity, there is less difficulty.
Information technology can deliver the needed information to the patient and the physician to improve not only the likelihood of improved care but also the time-to-achieve the outcomes. Most patients want and need to be involved in their care. There is evidence that giving patients access to their information results in higher levels of engagement and adherence to recommendations. In fact, the latest evidence shows that patients have been signing up for access to their health system portals at a rate of 1% per month for over 30 months.
Three times a day, as though responding to some signal audible only to the generously medicated, we rise from our beds to join the slow procession around the perimeter of the unit. Like slumped, disheveled royalty, each of us blearily leads our retinue of anxious loved ones who push our IV poles, bear sweaters to ward off the harsh air conditioning and hover to prevent stumbles. Some make eye contact. Few talk. Each of us is absorbed in our suffering and our longing to return to our bed.
I find this experience strangely moving.
Despite the nausea, dizziness and enough mind-altering drugs to fell a horse, so many of us fight our way to consciousness, creakily right ourselves and step out of our rooms to join the others. At that moment we are able to say “I’ll do the one thing they say might help me get better,” taking one painstaking step after the next – the height of our ambition meets the limits of our abilities – to resume the life we left behind when we entered the hospital.
This is one glimpse of what it means to be engaged in our health care.
Jessie Gruman, PhD, is the founder and president of the Washington, DC -based Center for Advancing Health. She is the author of Aftershock: What to Do When You or Someone you Love is Diagnosed with a Devastating Diagnosis. She blogs regularly on thePrepared Patient Forum.
As the first snowflakes of change fall on the eve of health reform, HR professionals may soon wake up to an entirely transformed healthcare delivery landscape. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) clearly will impact every stakeholder that currently delivers or supplies healthcare in the United States.
While the structural, financial, behavioral and market-based consequences of this sweeping storm of legislation will occur unevenly and are not fully predictable, this first round of healthcare legislation is designed to aggressively regulate and rein in insurance market practices that have been depicted as a major factor in our “crisis of affordability” and to expand coverage to an estimated 30 million uninsured. However, fewer than 30 percent of employers polled in a recent National Business Group on Health survey believe reform will reduce administrative or claims costs.
Yet, it is unlikely that reform will be repealed. For all its imperfections, PPACA is the first in a series of storm systems that will move across the vast steppe of healthcare over the next decade resulting in a radically different system. Whether reform concludes with a single payer system or emerges as a more efficient public-private partnership characterized by clinical quality and accountability remains obscured by the low clouds and shifting winds of political will. One thing is certain during these first phases – inaction and lack of planning will cost employers dearly.Continue reading…
You can walk into a pharmacy any day and buy a test kit to find out if you are ovulating so that you can undertake family planning activities. You can buy home testing kits to screen for high cholesterol, presence of the HIV virus, even illicit drug use. You can also pony up $500 and buy yourself a genetic test kit from 23andMe, a retail DNA testing service, to find out what might be in your genetic blueprint. Hey, you can even visit a fortune teller if you feel that is how you want to make pre-emptive healthcare decisions.
While some might look askew at how you get information to make choices about your life, it is rare that someone steps in and tries to stop you from doing so. In general, the American way is to say, “Hey, you’re an adult and it’s your life. If you want to engage in self-actualization, whether or not it has a scientific basis, that’s your beeswax.”
As medicine has evolved to a point where over-the-counter testing has become more and more accessible, many consumers have responded to the perceived advantages of privacy, convenience and the heightened ability to make health decisions early. In fact, these are part of the key principles espoused by those who believe that consumers have a right to their own healthcare information. The idea is that the information is about you, the healthcare consumer, and thus should be both readily available to you and yours to do with what you wish. And yet, that is not always the case. Often it’s not even close. Continue reading…