By spreading the word about this unbiased, evidence-based information, you can help
your employees talk with their doctors and compare various treatments' benefits, risks, and
side effects. The ultimate goal is one that we can all embrace — to give employees
the right tools to improve the effectiveness, efficiency, and safety of their health care.
The following strategies offer potential tactics for distributing these valuable publications.
These options were developed in consultation with the experts — employers, wellness
companies, benefits consultants, and health plan representatives. Please consider which of
these strategies would work best for your company as you encourage your employees to access
reliable information and take an active role in their health care.
Strategies for Disseminating Objective, Evidence-based Health Information to Employees
(Select items below for details).
of unbiased health information
Consider an initial announcement about the availability of
this material on the home page of your Intranet, using the same approach you use to
announce other information you want to call to your employees' attention. You
might preface the link with a few sentences about the availability of unbiased
information that will help them make decisions about treatment options for a variety
of health care conditions, including heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
SAMPLE TEXT: We are pleased to provide you with easy access to information that will help you
learn more about the treatment options available for several health care
conditions, including heart disease, cancer and diabetes. The Internet link
below also will lead you to guidance on how to ask your doctor questions and to
work together to make the best treatment decisions based on your own values,
preferences and quality of life goals. (INSERT LINK HERE).
If you are planning to announce AHRQ’s new landing page
for employers and employees, you could include the message about the consumer guides
within that announcement.
SAMPLE TEXT: We are pleased to tell you about free information available to help you understand
a health care condition you or a loved one may have. These Consumer Research Summaries
are based on the latest and best research about treatments and other approaches to a
sickness or condition. They provide plain-language explanations of the research to help
you discuss your treatment options with your doctor, or other members of your health
care team. There are several summaries available that focus on a number of health care
conditions, such as diabetes, depression and rotator cuff injuries. This list continues
to grow, with more topics covered by new summaries. (INSERT LINK HERE).
When promoting the consumer summaries, make clear that
AHRQ’s growing inventory of consumer summaries includes treatment comparisons for
numerous health conditions – from diabetes to rotator cuff injuries, with new summaries
on additional conditions continually being developed.
summaries at events
Provide sample consumer summaries at open enrollment, health fairs,
and other events. Encourage health plans to provide the publications to health plan
enrollees (and make companion clinician summaries available for medical staffs).
Order sample brochures from AHRQ (see above) to display
during health-care related events at your organization. Summaries can also be printed
from AHRQ’s website.
Increase the impact of the summaries by making them part of your
communication strategy with employees. For example, one strategy is called PREPARE (Plan,
Report, Exchange Information, Participate, Agree, Repeat). In one approach to this method,
the summaries would be the focus of the Exchange Information step, and other steps in the
strategy would be used to increase employee use of the publications.
Encourage RNs or other health coaches who staff decision support
lines to use AHRQ’s evidence-based consumer summaries when discussing treatment options.
Arrange a meeting with decision support line staff to review
AHRQ’s EHC materials.
Set up a computer and projector to first introduce the staff
to the AHRQ web site; Navigate through the various tools and products that are available
for consumers and clinicians.
Engage your staff in a discussion about how these tools can
be used to assist employees when they need more information about their health care
Be sure that the staff’s ideas are acted upon – making the
link and other materials available to them after the discussion meeting.
Add AHRQ’s EHC link to the home screen of information used by
these staff members to facilitate their easy access to the material while on a call with
The home page of AHRQ’s Effective Health Care program
will allow these health coaches to access both information for the clinician and
Request that these staff members make employees aware of
the consumer summaries when one exists for the employee’s condition.
Be certain that they have a current list of the consumer
summaries for easy scanning when talking with an employee. The most current listing is
available on http://effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/index.cfm/research-summaries-for-consumers-clinicians-and-policymakers/. The summaries are listed on the left side of the table under general headings
(e.g., breathing conditions, cancer). The relevant summary can then be opened from this
web site. It can be printed and given to the employee, or the summary’s link can be
emailed to the employee.
Engage vendors to
promote consumer publications
Request that vendors (care coordination, disease management, third
party administrators, and health plans) promote the consumer publications through their
communications channels, particularly within the care-delivery process (e.g., for prior
authorization, disease management, etc.).
Arrange a meeting with vendors’ staff to review AHRQ’s EHC
Set up a computer and projector to first introduce the
vendors’ staff to the AHRQ web site; navigate through the various tools and products
that are available for consumers and clinicians.
Engage the vendors’ staff in a discussion about how these
tools can be used to assist employees when they need more information about their health
care treatment options.
Be sure that the vendors’ staff’s ideas are acted upon –
making the link and other materials available to them after the discussion
Suggest that these vendors add AHRQ’s EHC link to the home screen
of information used by their staff to facilitate easy access to the material while on a
call with an employee.
Request that these staff make employees’ aware of the consumer
guides when one exists for the employee’s condition.
Be certain that these staff have a current list of the
consumer summaries for easy scanning when talking with an employee. The most current
listing is available on http://effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/index.cfm/research-summaries-for-consumers-clinicians-and-policymakers/. The publications are listed on the left side of the table under general headings
(e.g., breathing conditions, cancer). The relevant summary can then be opened from this
web site. It can be printed and given to the employee, or its link can be emailed to
Sponsor workplace and/or community seminars to educate employees
and other citizens about the benefits of evidence-based health information and the availability
of the Effective Health Care Program materials.
Collaborate with hospitals and other organizations in your
community to increase awareness.
Sponsor an open house at your organization where staff
from hospitals and community health care organizations can learn more about the EHC
consumer and clinician publications. Set up a computer linked to the AHRQ’s web page
for EHC (
http://effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/). Set up another computer to run one of
AHRQ’s consumer-focused health care videos. For example, one video featuring AHRQ
Director Carolyn M. Clancy, MD, explains what people can do to make sure they get the
most of an appointment with the doctor (for a list of the videos, go to
Order hard copies of AHRQ summaries and other tools in advance to display for visitors
Promote the idea of employees taking the publications to medical
appointments to help them ask questions and understand their treatment options, even if
a treatment decision has already been made.
Order hard copies of AHRQ publications for conditions you
believe may be common to your employees. Make these available through your human
relations department, in your health clinic, and in employee lounge areas. Consider
posters in lounge areas and employee cafeterias that also promote employee use of AHRQ
tools that will enhance employee participation in their health care.
Share your dissemination plans with community clinics and other
providers. Suggest making consumer and clinician summaries available in physician offices.
Think creatively about your use of the summaries with employees.
They can be both a comprehension tool to check an individual’s understanding of their
health care and a communication tool that employees can use to explain their health care
to their families.
They can help to prepare your employees before appointments, to
help them think about questions they want to ask and write them down, or they may underline
the sections in the publication that they want to ask about.
Emphasize that AHRQ’s consumer summaries have broad relevance –
not only to employees, but to their families and friends. Many publications address health
conditions common among aging parents. Promote the idea that employees can use and share the
information with family members to assist with their own health care decisions.
Think creatively about dissemination. Would employees respond to a
promotional flyer? Would employee testimonials about the guides fit in the company newsletter?
Would a link to the guides fit on the company Web site?.
Increase the use of the summaries by encouraging action
when they are provided to patients (such as saying, “please read this and mark any areas you
do not fully understand”) as opposed to making more passive recommendations (“read this”).
Increase the likelihood that your employees will use the
information by asking them if they will read it (as opposed to asking them to read it).
People who state an expectation to do something are more likely to do it.
The potential of these consumer guides to improve health care decisionmaking is significant, and we deeply appreciate your help in expanding the effort to get consumers more involved in their care. We would like to learn more from you about helping employers improve health care quality for employees. If you would like to share your experiences, please e-mail EHCforBusiness@AHRQ.hhs.gov.