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Take 'Healthcare 101' and See the Doctor

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, September 27, 2012

What if payers required all health consumers to take a one-day "Healthcare 101" class every five years? Especially when they're eligible for Medicare, the age when the need for healthcare services dramatically increases.

Qualified instructors would explain the importance of patients asking questions about their care, and who should answer them. Students would learn about how to measure quality of care, and where to check for it. They'd learn a few current concepts, like accountable care, incentive payment, discharge planning, hospital-acquired harm, and evidence-based medicine.

They'd see the difference between a hospital marketing campaign and what's right for them.

Yes, there would be a test. And they'd have to pass. And their providers could see their scores.

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4 comments on "Take 'Healthcare 101' and See the Doctor"


Eve Harris (10/1/2012 at 8:28 PM)
This strange (facetious?) suggestion is NOT patient-centered and does not actually empower patients or do much of anything to fix the broken healthcare delivery system.

Bart Windrum (9/28/2012 at 8:41 AM)
I have long suggested a similar thing around end of life, since 90% say they want to 'die in peace' yet roughly 15% do, according to the commonly held definition. What the nascent 'conversation' around end of life really addresses is dying AT peace; dying IN peace is an obstacle course littered with impediments to dying both in and at peace. A 3-hour day would position people to add a range of things to "the talk". A 6-hour day would give them a depth of understanding that might truly empower them and change the future course of their, and their loved ones', demises. Since end of life is the caboose on life's train, I think Cheryl's car will get going first. Just be sure that the training (hey, that's a pun) includes more than describing what is; it must provide empowering guidance for how to manage.

deb (9/27/2012 at 5:59 PM)
This looks like yet another way the current system is going to exert control over what people do and who is allowed to provide "services." The insurance industry exerts control by their contracts - what they pay for and how much they pay for - is a means of controlling actions. "Responsibility" as it is currently used really means did a patient do what they were told to do - with little regard for whether those directions achieve what the patient may want to achieve. How about instead the control is actually shifted to the people seeking support for their well-being? (and yes, some people won't care, and for some that may be a viable choice) The concept of stewardship would go a long way here. Stewardship shifts control. Equip and empower people to be stewards, to make effective decisions for themselves for the sustainability of well-being - from a range of decisions available, not just a small list from the allopathic world. That's like teaching someone to fish . . . and offering the world of lakes and rivers.