Empowering Healthcare Consumers with Price and Quality Information

Going Forward with the Scorched Earth Platform of the

The display of offal during the 2016 presidential election continues
to stain my mind and  incites humor and
we are sure to receive plenty of comedic material from the
crotch-grabber-in-chief. This is the 100th article I have published
under the healthpolicymaven blog and since he-who-shall-not-be-named was
elected President, my readership has tripled. 

I have been publishing Straight Talk on Health Care since
December 12, 2007, when a candidate for governor of Washington ran on a
platform to reduce healthcare access for children, which inflamed my
sensibilities and inspired my direct-to-consumer advocacy.  The purpose of this column, which is
published in blog form, but adheres to strict journalistic standards for
research and references, is to empower the public with useful information which
can inform healthcare decisions. In other words, what information, presented in
an understandable, and engaging manner do we need to make better decisions
about our health treatments, how we pay for those services, how much we pay for
our health care, and how do we gauge the quality of care. Here are the most
popular postings for this blog:

As you can see, there is much more of interest than just the
Affordable Care Act, which is surely going to change under the Republican
administration. In addition to this column, I am also a health care and public
policy book reviewer for the New York Journal of Books.  Elisabeth Rosenthal’s, An American
Sickness-How Healthcare Became Big Business And How You Can Take It Back, is scheduled
for release in April and is a riveting expose on the rip offs in U.S. health
care and how to find comparative price information.

 When I finished my Master
of Health Administration in 2004, my capstone project was Increasing the
Engagement of the Public In Understanding Health Systems, and at that time,
there was little health quality information and even less price transparency
for U.S. healthcare consumers. Now, thanks to cloud sharing technology and
smart phones, there is quite a bit of information on clinical outcomes readily available
through reputable sources.

Here is an example of quality rankings for cardiac

Here is a tool to assess hospital quality rankings, based on
patient safety measures:

Here is an example of how to determine a fair price for your
proposed treatment:

With this next level of transparency for the price of health
services, consumers will be more empowered to choose wisely, as the Lown
Institute.org encourages. Knowledge is power and the more patients are educated
before they obtain health services, the more likely they are to gain an optimal

And this is the healthpolicymaven signing off, wishing you a
happy and healthy new year.

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