I know: "That sounds silly, awfully nanny-state." So offer people $200 off their health insurance premium, and I'll bet they'd volunteer. They could even take the course online.
After all, everyone has to take a class to get a driver's license. And incentives are common: a few years back, after I was ticketed on the freeway and lost my appeal, I had to attend a course for two days to avoid a hefty fine. (I chose "Comedy Traffic School," taught by a nightclub standup, to at least get a few laughs out of the experience.) Come to think of it, my car insurer said I could get a $50 credit on my premium if I took Geico's class in defensive driving.
Heck, I was even told that I couldn't operate the high-end quilting machine I coveted unless I took a course held by the manufacturer, Bernina.
Healthcare is surely a more critical and complicated issue than quilting, and it's certainly as important as driving a car.
This "Healthcare 101" thought came as I browsed through a survey published this week by the Institute of Medicine, Kaiser Permanente, and Consumer Reports, which partnered on a project regarding the state of physician-patient communication.
The thrust of the report, Communicating with Patients on Health Care Evidence, is that patients must demand a much greater role in making decisions, in cooperation with their providers—but that providers need to step it up to make that happen.