As a growing number of consumers and healthcare professionals seek access to evidence that supports better healthcare decision making, the recent Coalition for Patients’ Rights membership meeting addressed the evolving role of public information resources such as Consumer Reports in the healthcare landscape.
Representatives of the leading health professional organizations who attended the meeting in Silver Spring, Md. agreed that consumers must have access to the full range of licensed, qualified health professionals to meet their diverse healthcare needs. This access ensures that engaged patients can choose providers who have the expertise and training to handle their individual concerns and needs.
Consumers are increasingly seeking reputable ratings services, such as Consumer Reports, to help navigate their range of healthcare choices and select their health care professionals. The Coalition for Patients’ Rights, a national coalition that represents more than three million licensed and certified healthcare professionals, invited Doris Peter, the associate director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center, to discuss its rankings of health professionals and other consumer resources. Consumer Reports analyzes technical safety data for healthcare products and professionals and translates it into charts to help consumers easily evaluate their options.
“The Coalition and Consumer Reports both recognize the importance of providing consumers with the resources they need to make informed choices about their healthcare,” said Janet Deppe, spokesperson for the Coalition. “We welcome the opportunity to explore ways in which our organizations can collaborate to get valuable health information into consumers’ hands.”
One available resource is a Consumer Toolkit the Coalition developed to assist patients who are searching for a healthcare professional to meet their needs. The toolkit includes lists of consumer tips about the search process and questions to ask prospective healthcare professionals. It also includes resources for consumers who have encountered financial and legislative barriers that prevented them from accessing the professionals of their choice to share their experiences and concerns with insurers or legislators.
During the conversation, Peter recognized the key role that non-M.D./D.O. health professionals play in ensuring that consumers receive the care and treatment they need. The Coalition’s membership represents a diverse array of healthcare professionals whom patients across the country rely upon, including advanced practice and other registered nurses, audiologists, chiropractors, foot and ankle surgeons, naturopathic doctors, occupational therapists, physical therapists, psychologists and speech-language pathologists.
“Our healthcare system depends upon a broad range of healthcare specialists—not just physicians—to provide the expert care patients need,” said Deppe. “The Coalition’s Consumer Toolkit provides details on different types of healthcare professionals so patients can determine which ones would best meet their individual needs.”
About the Coalition for Patients’ Rights™
A national coalition of more than 35 organizations, the Coalition for Patients’ Rights (patientsrightscoalition.org) represents more than three million licensed and certified healthcare professionals committed to ensuring comprehensive healthcare choices for all patients. It was formed in 2006 in response to divisive efforts by the Scope of Practice Partnership (SOPP), an alliance of medical and osteopathic physician organizations including the American Medical Association (AMA), which aims to limit the scopes of practice of other healthcare professionals.
The Coalition is comprised of a diverse array of healthcare professionals, including registered nurses, naturopathic doctors, psychologists, audiologists, physical and occupational therapists, advanced practice registered nurses (certified registered nurse anesthetists, nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwives and clinical nurse specialists), foot and ankle surgeons and chiropractors.