Anna Sinaiko on lessons learned from 40 years of consumerism in health care
June 16, 2020
Listen in as Suzanne Delbanco chats with Anna Sinaiko, PhD, Assistant Professor at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. Anna Sinaiko studies patient or individual decision-making in health care settings, often referred to as consumerism in health care. She and her colleagues are wrapping up a synthesis of evidence from the last 40 years of health care consumerism initiatives. By looking backward at past price and quality transparency efforts and employer-led benefit design programs, Sinaiko hopes to inform future policies aimed at helping patients make informed decisions in today’s complex health care market.
The forthcoming research will cover patient attitudes and preferences around health care choices as well as what types of efforts have successfully steered patients toward higher-value providers. Anna’s insights are a welcome asset for benefit managers across the country and may be especially timely due to the current economic downtown. For example, self-funded purchasers tempted to shift costs to consumers through higher deductibles as a way to reduce costs should proceed with caution. The research shows this strategy is ineffective at helping patients be better consumers because it doesn’t actually help consumers identify high-value providers. Instead, benefit managers should strive to implement programs that make it easy for consumers to know how to behave in a way that meets their needs and interests.