Increase and Improve Patient-Centered Resources

The health care system is complex, and the fragmentation of the industry can lead to confusion for patients as they communicate with agents, insurance companies, health care providers, clinics, employers, pharmacists, care coordinators, and others who are involved with their care.

Knowing the complexity of the industry, how exactly can health professionals, care coordinators, and those in public health make a difference and help those they work with? Understanding patients’ perspectives and making resources more focused on them is one way! That’s why increasing and improving patient-centered resources is a key priority of the Minnesota Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy.

Here are some tips to help make your health care resources more patient-centered:

  1. Increase access to individuals who help patients navigate and coordinate care. While care coordinators are commonly available to patients with cancer and other chronic conditions, this collaborative and supportive model would be helpful for all patients. The number of care coordinators could be increased to help more patients access this important resource. New care coordinators from diverse backgrounds could also be recruited to better reflect the populations they serve.
  2. Identify centralized places for patients to seek resources and ask questions. Different resources are provided to patients in multiple locations by a variety of sources. With so much information coming to them from different sources, it’s easy to see how they could get confused! To remedy this, the same materials and resources could be available on many platforms – including in person, by phone, and online – to make them more accessible. Patients should also have the opportunity to ask questions as they are receiving them.  Here are some examples for how this could look:
  • In person: Health care facilities could dedicate a staff person to answer questions, direct patients to resources, and identify larger issues or emerging trends that could be addressed through the creation of new resources.  Insurance providers could offer opportunities for consumers to ask questions in person, whether it’s through their agent, health fairs, or storefronts.
  • By phone: Health insurers, clinics, and hospital systems might consider developing a central call center to make it easy for patients to seek answers to their questions. This central call center could route specific questions to the appropriate resources.
  • Online: An online resource center, social media presence, or smartphone app could be created to provide a central clearinghouse for accurate, easy-to-understand information. These tools could embrace search capabilities that make it simple for patients to find specific information.

For more information and tips, read the Minnesota Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy.

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