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January 2015 Newsletter
 

In 2014, we released new information in Consumer Reports magazine and on ConsumerHealthChoices.org about Choosing Wisely and the appropriate use of tests, treatments, and procedures; on the problem of overdiagnosis; on safe maternity care; on prescription drug safety and effectiveness; on physician performance; on hospital safety and patient experience; on health insurance decisions; on dignity and respect in patient-provider relationships; and on changes in the delivery system. We also celebrated the 10th anniversary of Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs

Through our Health Impact partner network and communication channels, we touched well over 100 million consumers in 2014 with Consumer Reports' health information in English and Spanish. Thank you to all our partners for your essential role in this accomplishment and to our newest partners for stepping up to the challenge!

This impact has been augmented by sustained media coverage, most recently in JAMA and the Harvard Business Review. Additionally, our coverage of hospital safety was recognized with an award from a major media industry organization.

Much of our work is made possible by the support of generous donors, grantmakers, and foundations, including the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Attorney General Consumer and Prescriber Grant Program, to name just three. Thank you to all of them.

And as we turn to 2015, we're excited to share the news that Consumer Reports has received a new grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through the ABIM Foundation to work with other grantees to further promote the implementation of Choosing Wisely.

We bring renewed commitment to working with you to listen closely to the needs of health consumers, and to address them in ways that will improve their health, finances, and quality of life. And I look forward to having energetic conversations with many of you about how to increase our relevance and impact.

Best wishes for a successful year ahead!
Tara Montgomery
Senior Director, Health Impact

Putting Choosing Wisely into practice
WESTMED, a medical group of approximately 300 physicians in New York, is using Choosing Wisely to help its patients learn about over-used medical care and particularly overuse of antibiotics. The medical group has displayed our 5 Questions to Ask Your Doctor Before You Take Antibiotics poster in their waiting rooms and distributes Consumer Reports' Choosing Wisely patient-friendly brochures. That up-front information has made it easier for physicians to achieve a pledge they've made: Don't prescribe antibiotics for sinus infections when patients don't have very specific symptoms. 

Questions to ask about a new prescription
Did your doctor recently prescribe a new drug for you?  For consumers who are wondering where to start and which questions to ask, Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs is rolling out a new 30-second public service announcement (PSA) in both English and Spanish.  By asking key questions such as "Why do I need this drug?" and "Is there a generic form of this drug?", consumers can begin a productive dialogue with their doctors. 
Two new Choosing Wisely partners
WellOK,  the Northeastern Oklahoma Business Coalition on Health, is a nonprofit group of businesses coming together to advocate for highest quality and value for the healthcare they purchase. The coalition comprises private and public employers, government and philanthropic organizations. WellOK works to achieve better care for each of its employees and families and better health for all in the community, all at the best possible cost. It strives to make its community more attractive to growth by offering high-value healthcare.

The Health Policy Corporation of Iowa (HPCI) is a coalition of employers and purchasers conducting joint initiatives, research, and education -- and applying solutions to improve the quality and affordability of health care in Iowa. HPCI is addressing fundamental issues in the health care system through collaborative efforts and the use of sound purchasing and quality improvements principles. HPCI has two goals:  1)  for employers (purchasers) to receive the greatest value for the dollars invested in health care in local markets and providers receive economic and other incentives to improve performance; 2) to contribute to improvements in the health of the community.
Delivering patient info at the point of care
Several health systems have expressed interest in adding Choosing Wisely patient information to their electronic medical record systems. One pioneer in this effort is Peace Health Medical Group, which serves parts of Oregon, Washington and Alaska. In collaboration with its patient information vendor and Consumer Reports, Peace Health is integrating Choosing Wisely brochures into the after-visit educational materials offered up by its EMR system. The project began with nine Choosing Wisely recommendations that have been prioritized by the Washington State Choosing Wisely Task Force. The plan then is to expand to include many more Choosing Wisely topics, in English and Spanish. Peace Health and Consumer Reports both hope the lessons learned can inspire similar efforts at other health systems.

Support our work
Knowing that you're a fan of Consumer Reports Health, we'd like to invite you to make a charitable contribution. Your contribution will help us remain a leading voice in championing consumers' access to high-quality health care. We hope you'll find it's a cause worthy of your support.

You can easily donate online or email us at healthimpact@cr.consumer.org if
you have questions.


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