Nothing is more important to a person than his or her health, but millions remain uniformed and passive when it comes to healthcare. Passive consumers expect providers to take charge of their health, do not ask questions or provide information, and have complacent, or even fatalistic attitudes about their health options. Yet numerous studies show that consumers can be catalysts for improving their own health while improving the healthcare system along the way.
It is a given that consumers will never be medical experts, and no one is expecting them to be. But people can take more active roles in managing their healthcare. They can make better lifestyle choices, schedule routine preventative care and testing, and take active roles in disease management and prevention. Active consumers learn as much as possible about their health conditions. They ask questions of their providers, express concerns, and request information in plain language. These active consumers play a major role in making the healthcare system cheaper and more efficient by selecting high-performing providers and health plans, ensuring effective prevention and treatment, and maintaining healthy behaviors.
So how can passive consumers become more active in their healthcare decisions? There are many approaches. Since the majority of Americans received healthcare through their employer, more businesses need to implement health management programs. Studies have shown that these programs offer a 3 to 1 return on investment. Successful programs provide Health-Risk Assessments for individuals to help them gain insight into their personal health.
According to a recent study by the Centers of Disease Control, 75 percent of all healthcare spending pays for illness that can be prevented. By encouraging people to change their behavior, medical costs will come down and healthcare can be more affordable to everyone.