FAIR Health adds new tools to support consumers as they navigate the healthcare system

The national, independent nonprofit FAIR Health is unveiling three new enhancements to its platform of online resources to support consumers as they navigate the healthcare system.

FAIR Health has added a shoppable services tool to its free, award-winning website, fairhealthconsumer.org; created a free website for providers about shared decision making to complement the consumer resources on that subject at FAIR Health Consumer; and launched a free mobile app, FH Consumer Classroom, to deliver health insurance education to consumers in a user-friendly, consolidated format.

Shoppable services tool

Shoppable services are nonurgent healthcare services that a patient can schedule in advance, such as cataract surgery, colonoscopies and CT scans. Beginning in 2021, federal regulation requires hospitals to list their prices for 300 shoppable services. While patients can go from hospital to hospital looking for these price lists, formats may differ, making comparisons difficult.

FAIR Health Consumer's shoppable services tool takes a different approach. It allows consumers to browse through more than 300 shoppable services or search for a specific service, then get an estimate of the average cost of that service in the consumer's geographic area or surrounding areas.

Both in-network and out-of-network, geographic-specific costs are given. With this information, consumers can plan and budget for the service--especially important for those with high-deductible health plans. If consumers are uninsured or going out of network, they can use the cost estimate to negotiate with hospitals. For more on the new tool, see the article Shopping for Shoppable Services.

Shared decision-making website for providers

Shared decision making is the discussion between patients (and/or their caregivers) and clinicians to decide on care based on clinical evidence, balancing risks and outcomes with patients' preferences and values.

FAIR Health has now launched an educational website, fairhealthprovider.org, that supplies providers with free resources and tools to facilitate shared decision making. Funded by a generous grant from The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, the new site complements FAIR Health's consumer-facing tools, which launched last year on FAIR Health Consumer.

The tools combine clinical and cost information to support seriously and chronically ill patients and their caregivers in shared decision making with clinicians.

Materials on the new site include:

  • An explanation and overview of shared decision making;
  • Guidance and resources for shared decision-making implementation, such as provider- and consumer-facing checklists;
  • Guidance for engaging in "triadic decision making" when a caregiver or family member is involved;
  • Discussion prompts and conversation guides;
  • Suggestions for further reading and resources, such as advance directives and tools to improve health insurance literacy; and
  • Decision aids that combine clinical treatment options and associated costs for three palliative care scenarios:
    • Dialysis for people who are seriously ill;
    • Nutrition options for people who are seriously ill; and
    • Ventilator for people who are seriously ill.

The Samuels Foundation is proud to support FAIR Health's new provider-oriented website that offers educational content and tools aimed at supporting providers and clinicians in shared decision-making discussions with seriously ill older adults and their caregivers in New York City. This initiative is particularly relevant as patients, caregivers and providers are navigating difficult decisions in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic."

Lauren Weisenfeld, Deputy Director, Healthy Aging Program, Samuels Foundation

FH consumer classroom mobile app

Health insurance literacy and health literacy are more important now than ever, due to the impact of COVID-19 on the healthcare delivery system and the need to turn to alternative venues of care such as telehealth. FH Consumer Classroom, FAIR Health's new mobile app, equips the consumer with critical information at this time of notable change.

Available on the Apple App Store and Google Play, FH Consumer Classroom provides easy access to the educational materials also available on FAIR Health Consumer. The app offers FAIR Health's award-winning consumer content on a new educational platform in a concise, user-friendly format.

FH Consumer Classroom enables users to learn about health insurance and healthcare quality through articles, videos and a glossary, and access key resources and interactive puzzles to support learning. Among the educational topics covered is shared decision making. The app also links to FAIR Health's nationally recognized FH®Medical and Dental Cost Lookup tools, which enable consumers to estimate the typical costs of medical and dental procedures.

FAIR Health President Robin Gelburd stated: "Now more than ever, consumers are hungry for resources that enable them to navigate the complex world of healthcare and health insurance. FAIR Health has created these three enhancements to its consumer platform to support consumers as they make crucial decisions regarding their health and finances, and the providers who are assisting them."


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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