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I discovered somewhat by accident early in my career -- that science makes faster progress and produces better results if more people with a range of different expertise are brought together. In the past 10 years, I've extended this belief to patients' participation in their care.
I am interested in how public and private policy can make it possible for most people in this country to take good care of themselves.
Primary care is the entry point into health care for most people. It provides the continuity of care over the lifespan. From that standpoint, it is the most familiar, trusted experience people have with health care.
The participation of individuals and their caregivers in hospital care has taken on increasing importance for us in all our activities as we have come to realize how central those attitudes and behaviors are to the delivery of quality care.
I think that if people are ever going to be able to use technology to engage in their care, the technologies have to be built for them and have to be usable by them.
One way NCQA looks at patient engagement is in the choice arena, by helping people pick who they'll get their care from. We provide information for people and purchasers to use to make choices about individual clinicians, practices and health plans, for example, based on objective ratings.
Three of the things that optimal patient engagement depends on are TIME, TOOLS and TEMPERAMENT. Clinicians and patients experience each of these differently, but they are central to us working together to get the best possible outcomes.
Most people still assume that they don't need to worry about the quality of the care they receive, whether it is from a doctor, in a hospital or in a nursing home. It's pretty frightening to realize that you do have to care about it, because it means you have to assume the burden. If quality does vary, you have to do the research. This is hard to deal with when you are upset.
This interview with Gail Hunt is the first in a series of brief chats between CFAH president and founder, Jessie Gruman, and health care experts'among them our CFAH Board of Trustees'who have devoted their careers to helping people find good health care and make the most of it.