The Center for Advancing Health, which I direct, just released A Snapshot of People's Engagement in Their Health Care, a study that found that most of us do relatively little to participate in our health care.
To assess our current level of engagement in care, CFAH searched 31 national surveys sponsored by the government, foundations and private organizations to locate data on the specific behaviors that each of us must do in order to effectively participate in our care. For example, I have to make sure that my medical information is conveyed to my various doctors and institutions. I have to ask questions of my doctor when the next steps I have to take are not clear. And I have to talk about recommended tests and treatments with my doctor to make the right choice for me.
For the vast majority of engagement behaviors like this for which data were found, about one-third of us do them regularly, about one-third of us do them occasionally and one-third of us don't do them at all.
While the lack of resources, insurance coverage, low literacy levels and illness present real barriers to participation for some us, lack of engagement is far too common among those who face none of them.
Recently passed health care reform promises to increase our access to care, but without our active, knowledgeable participation from both those of us who are currently insured or newly insured ' that reform will yield only sporadic improvements.
While each of us along with our caregivers and loved ones must take on these responsibilities if we are to benefit optimally from our health care, we cannot do so without the cooperation of every stakeholder in the health care enterprise.
Take a look at the report and comment here.