Healthcare insight is to health literacy as location is to real estate. Health literacy is the degree to which one is capable of obtaining, processing and understanding basic health information in order to make appropriate decisions related to one’s health. Without an understanding of how diseases are treated, evaluated and prevented, and knowledge of the rules and regulations for accessing the resources for those services, however, health literacy is less appealing, especially in the time of healthcare reform.
Prior to reform healthcare articles were primarily for professionals working within the industry, but many of the current articles pertaining to medical insurance, communication in healthcare, patient engagement, patient empowerment, health literacy and other topics provide patients with helpful information for obtaining better healthcare results and reducing their medical expenses. Additionally, some of the articles also help patients choose medical insurance, select physicians and plan future courses of action based on knowledge of impending changes within the healthcare industry.
Since more patients are now responsible for obtaining their own medical insurance instead of relying on employers to provide it for them, it is more important than ever to have the insight necessary to make an informed choice. Also, by understanding the changes within the insurance industry in the wake of the Affordable Care Act, changes in coverage, if appropriate, can be correctly made.
Healthcare articles can also provide many newly insured with the insight necessary for selecting physicians, and those not new to the insurance industry with the savvy to make informed decisions in selecting new physicians necessitated by dissolution of previous doctor/patient relationships due to retirement or the economic impact of healthcare reform on physician practices.
In finding a physician today, it is no longer a matter of selecting a provider based on age, number of years in practice, training background, practice location, word-of-mouth recommendation, other personal factors, or even insurance plan affiliation. Due diligence must be exercised to decrease the likelihood of establishing a doctor/patient relationship which is short-lived or fraught with surprises in the form of unexpected practice patterns.
Insight into the various issues affecting reimbursement and the new models of medical care, in the wake of the Affordable Care Act, is an important component of health literacy necessary for optimally accessing and navigating today’s healthcare system. Articles tailored for the consumer provide that valuable insight.