Healthcare consumers have been in the dark, but Consumer Reports continues to shine a light on information consumers can use to make informed decisions in the healthcare marketplace. As Martha Bebinger states in her recent article, there is a “void” of groups providing information to answer the question: Where should I get my health care? Usable information that is accessible or even available at all to healthcare consumers is in short supply.
Consumers want this data. The Mass Insight polling group performed a survey this past April that showed that consumers do want to have more information. But more than their desire, consumers have a right to this information. As with any other major consumer purchase, consumers should shop around for their health care. Consumers should use price and quality information when seeking out health care, just as they would when look for a television or car.
While this data may not be perfect, it is a step in the right direction. The Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation is working on an “Empowering Healthcare Consumers” campaign to advocate for price and information transparency in the healthcare marketplace. The way that this campaign will work is through bold moves by various groups to get information to consumers and fill that “void” that Ms. Bebinger writes about. The continued effort by Consumer Reports should be praised. It seeks to fill the vacuum of groups willing to step up and provide crucial information to empower healthcare consumers.