Website Search: Consumers’ Guide Essay

1015 words - 5 pages

Today, with the healthcare consumerism trend, the patient has become the prime focus. This new approach is a turning point on the road to improving quality and lowering the risk-taking in the healthcare field. First, guiding information is made available for consumers through plethora of information sources. Then, different channels are established to gather patients’ feedback and insights which later can be used to further improve the system. In this paper, I will provide my personal feedback as a patient seeking information from the websites of four healthcare agencies
Personal learning experience
After navigating through the websites of National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Joint Commission, Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS), and Institute of Healthcare Improvement (IHI), I gained a much better understanding of the accreditation process, its importance, and its requirements. Although I worked in the healthcare field for many years, as a patient, I never paid attention to my health providers’ accreditation; which is greatly highlighted in these websites. Aside from IHI and CHAPS websites, the other two provide specific sections under separate tabs for consumers that use simple technical language and offers direct information to patients in regards to the current updates plus other general health information.
I found helpful sections covering the new insurance marketplace and the variable options to consider when making a choice. Also, I feel motivated to get involved in my own care by being more proactive; especially when interacting with my doctors or health providers. Interestingly, one website offered a 10 most helpful questions to ask a doctor in order to make the most benefit of each visit. Looking backward, I found those questions to cover most of my needs in previous encounters. If I used those questions, I could have shorten the time I needed to spend with my doctor, gained a better understanding of my medical needs and future treatments, and lowered the risk I get exposed to by lack of communication.
Surprisingly, I learnt that medication errors have the highest prevalence in all medical risk factors. Knowing that, I decided to go through all the medications stored at home to make sure they are still valid; then I packed them properly. I also learnt some helpful ways to store and safely use medications and to speak up to ensure that I am taking the correct medication with the prescribed dosage.
Although I found these websites to be very beneficial, I think they can be enhanced at many levels to become more user friendly, use a simplified language suitable to average consumers, incorporate more graphics, and become more interactive with visitors. Evidently, websites’ interactivity is the most defining and distinguishing feature compared to traditional media (Tse & Chi-Fi, 2004). On the other hand, they provide most up-to-date information which...

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