Empowering Health Care Consumers

Project Title

Becoming a Savvier Health Care Consumer

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Empowering Health Care Consumers

Date Awarded

January 3, 2017


Central NY





The health care system is incredibly complex to understand and navigate, and consumer-friendly information about prices, quality, and other aspects of care is lacking.

Arming consumers with information will help them make savvier decisions about their own health and health care and give them a greater sense of control over those decisions. The Public Broadcasting Council of Central New York—known as WCNY—serves as Central New York’s public media organization that works to engage, educate, entertain, and connect the communities it serves to a rich array of quality resources and experiences. To reach millions of New Yorkers and help them become more informed health care consumers, NYHealth awarded WCNY a grant in 2017 to provide them with easy-to-understand health care information, tools, resources, and exemplary stories of real people actively engaged in their health care.

Under this grant, WCNY developed and broadcasted content designed to motivate consumers to become more informed about their own health care, using a variety of platforms—television, radio, websites, and social media. A range of consumer empowerment issues were explored, including navigating and understanding health insurance plans; accessing one’s own medical records; using cost calculators and provider rating tools; and choosing a specialist. The campaign included: weekly radio broadcasts on WCNY’s statewide program, Capitol Pressroom; 90-second television spots involving consumers and experts from different regions of New York State (which were broadcasted on six WCNY television channels and eight other PBS stations in New York State); a Web page featuring annotated recommended resources to direct consumers to educational tools; and related content via WCNY’s printed magazine, social media, WCNY’s television and radio programming, and in print and digital advertisements. WCNY rebroadcasted the television spots and maintained the affiliated Web pages for one year, extending the content’s shelf life beyond its initial airing.

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