NEW YORK, July 28, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The national, independent nonprofit FAIR Health, in collaboration with Dr. Chima Ndumele, professor at Yale University and a member of the FAIR Health Academic Advisory Board, has launched a New York State-specific initiative to advance shared decision making (SDM) between patients of color and their physicians. Supported by a generous grant from the New York State Health Foundation, the initiative will aim to increase minority patients’ health insurance literacy as well as their access to transparent, objective information about treatment options and associated costs to support open communication with their physicians around care decisions.
SDM, or the discussion between clinicians and patients and/or their caregivers to decide on treatment options that incorporate patient values and preferences, has been shown to increase patient engagement and satisfaction, reduce healthcare costs and improve treatment outcomes. However, tools that facilitate SDM, such as decision aids (DAs), rarely include cost information, a critical aspect of decision making for many patients. Moreover, research shows that Black patients are less likely than white patients to engage in or be offered SDM tools. FAIR Health will therefore focus on the tools’ dissemination in communities of color, in part through renewed attention to patient-centered information, such as cost data for conditions that patients of color more commonly face.
The new DAs, which will feature treatment options and associated costs for uterine fibroids, slow-growing prostate cancer and type 2 diabetes, are set to launch next year, following an assessment and development period. The DA topics were chosen through a needs assessment of the targeted patient population, which included a review of the existing literature and consultation with patients, providers, public health professionals and patient disease advocates in focus group sessions.
FAIR Health will further develop and promote awareness of the new SDM tools through collaboration with organizations and professionals who serve patients of color throughout the state. Such organizations will include patient advocacy groups, cancer survivor and support groups, and community healthcare providers and systems, as well as minority physician associations, local and state government minority offices, and other organizations that support people of color more broadly. The project also will include an evaluation phase that will help inform future SDM-related initiatives.
The 18-month effort is an extension of FAIR Health’s prior SDM initiatives that were generously funded by The New York Community Trust and The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation. In March 2020, FAIR Health launched a set of consumer-facing tools that combine clinical and cost information to support seriously and chronically ill patients and their caregivers in SDM with clinicians. The tools are available on fairhealthconsumer.org, FAIR Health’s free, award-winning consumer website, which enables consumers to estimate the typical costs of medical and dental procedures and provides rich educational content on the fundamentals of health insurance. In April 2021, FAIR Health officially announced the launch of FAIR Health’s provider-oriented educational platform, fairhealthprovider.org, through which providers and clinicians can access informative content that encourages open patient-provider discussions through the use of SDM tools that outline various treatment possibilities and their associated costs. FAIR Health also has recently been awarded a grant from The John A. Hartford Foundation for a project that began July 1, which will result in the creation of a new set of SDM and other healthcare engagement tools geared toward older adults with serious illnesses and their caregivers.
“Shared decision making represents an important step in engaging patients of color in healthcare decisions that matter to them,” Dr. Ndumele said of the upcoming project. “I am proud to be helping to shape this important initiative and thank the New York State Health Foundation for its support.”
Zachary Carter, FAIR Health Board member and former Corporation Counsel of New York City, expressed his support for the project: “Through this initiative, patients from communities of color will be empowered to make informed choices concerning treatment options and associated costs when consulting with their physicians.”
FAIR Health President Robin Gelburd added, “We thank the New York State Health Foundation for its generous support. The new shared decision-making initiative will result in tangible resources that minority patients can use to engage with their providers on important health- and financial-related matters.”
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About FAIR Health
FAIR Health is a national, independent nonprofit organization that qualifies as a public charity under section 501(c)(3) of the federal tax code. It is dedicated to bringing transparency to healthcare costs and health insurance information through data products, consumer resources and health systems research support. FAIR Health possesses the nation’s largest collection of private healthcare claims data, which includes over 34 billion claim records and is growing at a rate of over 2 billion claim records a year. FAIR Health licenses its privately billed data and data products—including benchmark modules, data visualizations, custom analytics and market indices—to commercial insurers and self-insurers, employers, providers, hospitals and healthcare systems, government agencies, researchers and others. Certified by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) as a national Qualified Entity, FAIR Health also receives data representing the experience of all individuals enrolled in traditional Medicare Parts A, B and D; FAIR Health includes among the private claims data in its database, data on Medicare Advantage enrollees. FAIR Health can produce insightful analytic reports and data products based on combined Medicare and commercial claims data for government, providers, payors and other authorized users. FAIR Health’s systems for processing and storing protected health information have earned HITRUST CSF certification and achieved AICPA SOC 2 compliance by meeting the rigorous data security requirements of these standards. As a testament to the reliability and objectivity of FAIR Health data, the data have been incorporated in statutes and regulations around the country and designated as the official, neutral data source for a variety of state health programs, including workers’ compensation and personal injury protection (PIP) programs. FAIR Health data serve as an official reference point in support of certain state balance billing laws that protect consumers against bills for surprise out-of-network and emergency services. FAIR Health also uses its database to power a free consumer website available in English and Spanish, which enables consumers to estimate and plan for their healthcare expenditures and offers a rich educational platform on health insurance. An English/Spanish mobile app offers the same educational platform in a concise format and links to the cost estimation tools. The website has been honored by the White House Summit on Smart Disclosure, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), URAC, the eHealthcare Leadership Awards, appPicker, Employee Benefit News and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. FAIR Health also is named a top resource for patients in Dr. Marty Makary’s book The Price We Pay: What Broke American Health Care—and How to Fix It and Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal’s book An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back. For more information on FAIR Health, visit fairhealth.org.
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