Holding the Health Care System Accountable for Empowering Consumers
Empowering Health Care Consumers
September 22, 2020
Outside New York State
New Yorkers still find the health care system hard to understand and navigate. Information about prices and quality is opaque; the system is often unresponsive to consumers’ needs and preferences; patients are not consistently engaged in shared decision-making with their health care providers; and bias and inequities in the system persist.
NYHealth launched its Empowering Health Care Consumers priority area to address these challenges, supporting many projects to advance system improvements, practice innovations, and policy reforms. Currently, however, there is no standardized definition or set of metrics for consumer empowerment that has been widely adopted in the field. Without these, New York State lacks a baseline to establish benchmarks, set goals, and measure progress. In 2020, NYHealth awarded Catalyst for Payment Reform (CPR) a grant to develop the first-ever Consumer Empowerment Scorecard and assess the status of consumer-focused policies and practices statewide.
Under this grant, CPR developed the New York Consumer Empowerment Scorecard to assess policies and practices that promote patient engagement and information transparency. CPR identified the domains and metrics for the scorecard, including on transparency; access; patient and care partner support; health system accountability and consumer protections; and consumer involvement/role in governance. CPR then assembled an expert advisory committee comprising a mix of measurement experts and stakeholder group representatives, including NYHealth grantees and partners. It also engaged consumer representatives in focus group activities to inform the development of the scorecard. Based on this input, it then oversaw data collection; designed the scorecard layout; and finalized and published the scorecard. CPR and NYHealth worked together to disseminate the scorecard and engage a broad audience of stakeholders, including patients, payers, providers, policymakers, businesses, and the media. The New York Consumer Empowerment Scorecard served as a model and test case for other states to follow suit, providing future opportunities for states to benchmark progress against each other and share best practices.