Here are some innovations that tend to educate patients and get them more involved in making health care decisions:
- Physician rankings. Physician ratings can help consumers select the most appropriate doctor, but if and only if qualified medical professionals do the rating based on clinical standards and quality is rated first, with only those doctors who make the quality standard getting rated for efficiency as well.
- Personal health records. A personal health record (PHR) provides a complete and accurate summary of the health and medical history of an individual using data gathered from many sources. The PHR is accessible online to the individual and anyone who has the necessary electronic credentials to view the information.
- Generic drugs in formularies. Health insurance plans now routinely include generic drugs in their drug formularies resulting in a lower copay for consumers who use generics in place of higher-priced brand names that do the same thing. Consumers who get involved can cut their costs by selecting the generic version.
So far I’ve come up with six ways that health insurance is better than it used to be. And I’m not done yet.