Comment and Consumerism

Yesterday, I got a comment from someone who was upset that I named the blog – The Patient Advocate. They don’t like the PBM system here in the US. And, they didn’t think this blog represented consumerism. I thought I would spend a minute responding publicly to him.

My perspective on naming the blog was simply that unless those of us within the healthcare system begin thinking about change from a patient perspective we won’t have much of a chance for change (radical or incremental). So, my hope here is to begin thinking about how patients can best receive information and be part of the process. But, yes, I am thinking about it from within the system. I am not here to take an ivory tower look at how to develop a new system.

Relative to defining consumerism, I could probably argue that all day long. My perspective is that consumerism in healthcare is largely about information and transparency. Information is easier in that there is lots of it. They question is how to get it to the patient in a timely and easily digestible manner. Transparency is harder but is happening. This requires change and helping patients to understand the rules and logic (clinical and business) behind healthcare and to get access to treatment and quality data. Both of these are necessary for people to make fact-based decisions about how and when to spend their healthcare dollars.

None of this is or will be easy. Moving responsibility for retirement funds from a defined plan to 401Ks where the responsibility is with the individual has been great for many, but not everyone has done well here. We will be in a transitionary period while this transformation happens. My hope is to be part of it and make it happen as well as possible.

Here are a few things on consumerism in healthcare:

  1. Aetna’s perspective
  2. Managed consumerism article
  3. Good blog and discussion on The Health Care Blog
  4. Forrester on healthcare consumerism
  5. Galen Institute study

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