Niagara Health Quality Coalition Incorporates Effective Health Care Summaries
The Niagara Health Quality Coalition (NHQC) provides Effective Health Care (EHC) Program summaries for patients and consumers through its network of employer members, created links to the summaries on the home page of its Web site, and is working on a plan to distribute them to area physicians for use with patients.
NHQC is a coalition of consumers, providers, and employers, including small businesses and grass roots organizations. The Coalition develops and supports initiatives that improve transparency and community health care, including the New York State Hospital Report Card, the New York State Preventable Hospitalizations Report, the New York State Procedure Utilization Report, and the NHQC-led National Model Pilot Projects in Disease Management and Wellness.
AHRQ's EHC Program summaries play a key role by giving consumers and patients access to unbiased, plain-language information about the different choices of treatments that are available to them for a variety of conditions, says Bruce A. Boissonnault, NHQC President and CEO.
"AHRQ's summaries are, without exception, the single most important empowerment tool consumers have for evaluating what the scientific literature says are the best treatment options," says Boissonnault. "This information represents the most enlightened way to help patients make the best decisions about their care."
NHQC's use of the summaries resulted from its participation in the EHC Tools for Business project, part of AHRQ's Knowledge Transfer Program. This project focused on informing purchasers about the consumer summaries, suggesting they can increase the value of health care services by encouraging employees to use the information in them. The summaries reflect the key findings of the various systematic reviews of research about each condition. They explain the benefits and harms of the different treatment options and other details that can help consumers and patients make informed health care decisions.
"Consumers have been waiting decades for unbiased, science-based comparisons of treatment options," says Boissonnault. "Consumers must be informed that 'what they don't know can hurt them,' and AHRQ's summaries tell them what they don't know."
AHRQ's EHC Program summaries are available at: http://www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/index.cfm/research-summaries-for-consumers-clinicians-and-policymakers/.