In the health and wellness arena, everyone talks about engaging consumers, but are we clear about what we're asking people to do? As far as I am aware, no one had defined the specific behaviors an engaged healthcare consumer demonstrates, so I crowd sourced a definition. This has been months in the making. Many thanks to everyone who contributed. Now, drum roll please...
10 Behaviors of an Engaged Healthcare Consumer
An engaged healthcare consumer...
- Has a primary care physician who is a partner in managing his or her health—with scheduled visits as recommended, whether for regular follow-ups for existing conditions or according to the age-related recommendations for prevention by sources such as NIH.
- Asks the 5 questions recommended in the Choosing Wisely campaign before getting any test, treatment (including taking a medication), or procedure and carefully considers all options before deciding among them:
► Do I really need this test or procedure?
► What are the risks?
► Are there simpler, safer options?
► What happens if I don't do anything?
► How much does it cost?
- Reviews hospital safety data—from sources such as Hospital Compare - Leapfrog, Hospital Quality Ratings - CareChex, and Surgeon Scorecard—before deciding where to seek care.
- Actively monitors and tracks personal health indicators like weight, as well as any indicators related to existing conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
- Maintains a list of medications taken and shows it to medical providers when seeking care, and keeps the list up to date in electronic medical records.
- Makes day-to-day decisions that support good health and takes any medications as prescribed and instructed.
- Develops a personal/family budget to manage healthcare expenses.
- Uses available tools to make cost-conscious decisions.
- Has an income-protection plan (e.g., short-term and long-term disability coverage) to rely on in case of an injury or illness that makes working impossible or limited.
- Has an advanced healthcare directive that has been discussed with family members.