Health care is one of many strategies we enlist in our effort to live our lives free of suffering.

CFAH reviewed 31 national surveys conducted from 2001-2009 that included questions about people’s engagement with health care. Our review found that we are not actively and consistently performing many of the actions directly linked to benefiting from the health care available to us.

For the majority of engagement behaviors for which survey data were available:

  • One third of American adults perform them consistently at this time.

  • About one-third of people perform them inconsistently or tentatively.

  • A final third do not perform them at all.

While we bear responsibility to engage actively and knowledgeably in our health care, we cannot do so effectively unless health professionals and care settings welcome and encourage our participation.

The promise of health reform initiatives and legislation to improve care will only be achieved with increased engagement of individuals. Health care professional organizations, consumer advocates, health plans, hospitals and government agencies have critical roles to play in reducing barriers to our participation, producing better tools to support our engagement and ensuring that health care is accountable to and for us.

Below, we have provided you with helpful links to our research:

Snapshot of People’s Engagement in Their Health Care - Summary: This summary provides a brief background of the CFAH Snapshot research with highlights from our findings.

Snapshot of People’s Engagement in Their Health Care - Full Report: The full report explains our research methods in more detail, provides more data (including tables) regarding specific behaviors and the frequency with which we do them, and offers goals and recommendations based on our findings.

Data Tables from the Snapshot of People’s Engagement in Their Health Care report: Seventeen data tables were created for the Snapshot. These tables have been organized by behavior group (i.e. “Organize Health Care,” “Participate in Treatment,” “Promote Health,” etc.) in the order presented in the full Snapshot report. They are collected here in one document for easy access and use by researchers, policy organizations and other health care stakeholders.

CFAH is an independent non-profit organization that receives funding from the Annenberg Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and others.