Monday, November 5, 2007

This presentation is part of : Outcomes of Care Models and Reports
Improving Quality by Empowering Consumers
Sharon M. Weinstein, MS, CRNI, FAAN, Core Wellness International, Core Consulting Group and the University of Illinois Institute for Healthcare Innovation, Lake Forest, IL, USA
Learning Objective #1: Demonstrate the impact on quality outcomes when consumers are empowered to make decisions concerning alternative approaches to care.
Learning Objective #2: Discuss the need to listen to, and learn from, the caregiver's decision relevant to care.

Surveys were sent to consumer groups in Australia, the United Kingdom and the U.S. The questions asked were as follows: (1) Who makes decisions concerning patient care in your household?  (2) Are you a partner in your healthcare? (3) On a scale of 1-5 (5 being highest) how satisfied are you with your care?  (4) If you suggested an alternative, would your primary care provider abide by your choice? (5) Are you empowered to choose alternatives to traditional care? Eighty percent of those surveyed responded to the questionnaire.  Responses consistently reflected a higher consumer rating when consumers are empowered to make care decisions.  Respondents from the U.S. responded yes to all questions, regardless of age groups.  Respondents from the U.K. responded to question 3 with the lowest scores and respondents from Australia were more satisfied than their counterparts from the U.K. but less than their counterparts from the U.S.  The U.S. also reflected the greatest number of uninsured and underinsured persons.  Consumers are more satisfied with the quality of their healthcare and available options when they have a voice in the decision-making process.  Alternative approaches to care are more readily available in Australia and in the U.K. although their use is increasing in popularity in the U.S.  In general, consumers listen to and respect the caregiver’s decision relevant to care options and are hesitant to question the primary care provider, either advanced practice nurse or physician.  Responses have been shared with the American Association of Retired Persons and similar consumer groups in the U.K. and AustraliaThe study implies that ideally, consumers should have a voice in healthcare decisions, especially as care relates to alternative choices.  Traditional western medicine is not always the best option and care should be personalized, regardless of the setting in which care is provided.