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March 27, 2013 2:33 pm

Consumers are legally required to be informed (legal Doctrine of Informed Consent) before agreeing or not to specific medical proceducre or treatment. To make the health care market work competitively, as any other competitive market, consumers must be able to access relevant health information from sources such as the various federal government sources (e.g., HCQR, Medicare, etc.)to share with their health care provider(s) to help assure true “informed” consent. In addition, the cost of all the options discussed must be part of this “informed” consent conversation. It is critical to note that the legal Doctrine of Informed Consent requires that the communications be in layperson language so that the consumer can make a reasonable and truly informed decision.
Roy J.… more »

…Bussewitz, R.Ph., J.D.
Former lecturer of Health Law (also taught Health Care Delivery in the U.S., and an introductory pharmacology course, “Drugs Used and Abused”) at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Cost Containment Specialist for the Department of Health (WI), and Legislative Assistant (Health) for U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson (WI). I have been retired since March 2006 and currently live in Wilmington, NC. ***Phone number redacted by Moderator*** « less
March 28, 2013 4:24 pm

It’s the existing Doctrine of Informed Consent that requires health care providers to communicate information in lay language so patients can make truly informed decisions, not HIT. However, HIT could and should move beyond its initial role of simply being a conduit to allow patients’ access to more medical information (e.g., research/studies/reports funded by the federal government… which, of course, are paid for to a great extent with health care consumers tax dollars) to an active role of helping to assure that the information conveyed is in language understandable to patients. Specifically, the various HIT organizations, including, ONC, could help persuade all federal health care agencies and/or Congress, to require that all federally funded studies contain a “substantive”… more »

…Summary written in lay language… this could be a prerequisite for federal grant money etc. Information content can, and must, be written to allow consumers to be more informed about their medical procedures, medical treatment, and pharmaceutical options. Other content contributors include the various health care provider professional associations. Those associations should work with their members and their respective professional schools, to require writing parallel study results for the consumer. HIT has an active role there as well because every health care profession has an active HIT component. The bottom line of this work product, which will be ongoing, is that it will create the optimal health care system based on allowing patients, with real time access to more lay information, and the help of their health care provisdders, to make the best truly informed decisions about their own health care. « less
March 27, 2013 5:46 pm

Thanks for your comment, royjbussewitz. How could Health IT be used to help consumers understand their decision in layperson language, so that they can make a truly informed decision?

March 28, 2013 6:49 pm

Thank you for your reply, royjbussewitz. What do other commenters think about royjbussewitz’s suggestion that the government should require that all federally funded studies contain a substantive summary written in lay language?

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