Consumers Afraid of Care Guidelines
A fascinating – and troubling – new study is out in the latest issue of Health Affairs.
Researchers commissioned by an employer group conducted in-depth interviews of some 1,600 employed, insured individuals.
According to the report:
” We found many of these consumers’ beliefs, values, and knowledge to be at odds with what policy makers prescribe as evidence-based health care. Few consumers understood terms such as ‘medical evidence’ or ‘quality guidelines.’ Most believed that more care meant higher-quality, better care.
“The dominant role of physicians in determining patient care has been a fact of medical care delivery for many decades. Therefore, many consumers may find it difficult to move into a more active and accountable role in which they are expected to understand and weigh multiple pieces of complex and potentially conflicting evidence.
“For health care experts, variation..in quality among health care providers, the evidence base regarding therapies, and the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of treatment options—is a well-established fact… Yet such concepts are unfamiliar to many Americans and may even seem threatening, to the extent that they raise unwelcome questions about the quality of medical care that people receive.
” The idea that getting high-quality care or the ‘right’ care could mean getting less care was counterintuitive. As one interview participant said, ‘I don’t see how extra care can be harmful to your health. Care would only benefit you.‘”
Clearly, healthcare providers and payers have a lot of explaining to do to patients.
The full article is available free at www.healthaffairs.org