Partnering to Advance Transparency and Research
Thanks to the generous support of foundations and other organizations, FAIR Health continues to expand the use of our data to power consumer-oriented tools that advance health insurance literacy and support decision making, as well as research that informs national healthcare policy, identifies trends in clinical practice that speak to quality of care, and more.
Transparency and Health Insurance Literacy Initiatives
Shared Decision Making
An Initiative to Advance Shared Decision Making for Patients of Color
Shared decision making (SDM) the discussion between patients and/or caregivers and healthcare providers regarding various treatment options, has been shown to increase patient engagement, including among patients of color, and reduce healthcare costs. However, tools that facilitate SDM, such as decision aids, rarely include cost information, a critical aspect of decision making.
With a generous grant from the New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth), FAIR Health is collaborating with Dr. Chima Ndumele, an Associate Professor of Health Policy at the Yale School of Public Health and a Faculty Associate at the Institute for Social and Policy Studies at Yale University, to undertake an 18-month initiative involving the creation and dissemination of decision aids that combine both clinical and cost information for conditions that are pertinent to patients of color (e.g., uterine fibroids, prostate cancer). Patients of color will be involved in the project’s design, management and execution. A range of diverse stakeholders—including community-based organizations and patient groups—will be engaged in the dissemination of the tools.
Provider-Oriented Shared Decision-Making Initiative
Shared decision making (SDM), the discussion between patients and/or caregivers and healthcare providers regarding various treatment options, has been known to increase patient engagement and reduce healthcare costs. With a generous grant from The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, FAIR Health developed, and is currently disseminating, an educational website on SDM geared for providers and clinicians who serve older adults with serious illnesses and are facing critical palliative care decisions.
This initiative marks the next chapter of FAIR Health’s efforts to promote SDM to consumers by building upon an earlier initiative, funded by The New York Community Trust (see below). The new provider-oriented educational website, which FAIR Health developed with the significant input of experts in palliative care and SDM, offers guidance on integrating SDM in discussions with patients and caregivers when making decisions related to palliative care. Access the new website here.
Shared Decision Making—Palliative Care
Shared decision making—the patient-clinician discussion regarding treatment options—involves the use of evidence-based strategies and patient decision aids, most of which lack cost information for the various clinical options presented, information that is needed for informed decision making. In April 2019, The New York Community Trust awarded FAIR Health a grant to introduce decision aids on the FAIR Health Consumer website that combine both clinical and cost information for a set of palliative care-related scenarios. The decision aids launched in March 2020. As part of the 18-month project, Dr. Glyn Elwyn of the Dartmouth Institute will study how the decision aids affect decision making.
NY HOST Español (Healthcare Online Shopping Tool)
With funding from The New York Community Trust, FAIR Health created a Spanish-language, mobile-optimized version of YouCanPlanForThis.org, our innovative consumer cost transparency and education website, to address the needs of New York City’s Latino healthcare consumers. The 18-month project included the translation of the site and a multifaceted, culturally relevant campaign designed to reach New York City’s Latino population that featured community events, media support and collaborative efforts with Latino community organizations to build awareness of the tool and explain its use.
New York Healthcare Online Shopping Tool (NY HOST)
NY HOST was a phased initiative funded by the New York State Health Foundation to help New Yorkers manage costs and compare providers based on price and quality indicators for frequently performed procedures. This statewide initiative resulted in the state’s first free provider price and quality transparency website, YouCanPlanForThis.org, which offered:
- Locally specific estimates of the “allowed” (i.e., negotiated in-network) amounts for medical procedures based on average negotiated in-network rates.
- Estimates of providers’ charges in local markets for services that are out of network or that are not covered by insurance;
- Itemized and total price information (both in- and out-of-network) for certain common conditions and procedures;
- For 100 commonly performed procedures in New York State, a listing of thousands of healthcare providers with detailed information about the providers’ prices and practices; and
- FFor a subset of hospitals in four areas of New York State (Albany, Buffalo, Syracuse and Westchester), pricing for a set of outpatient procedures and various quality metrics.
The website was promoted through a robust promotional ad campaign entitled “You Can Plan for This.”
Engage Health CT
For the Engage Health CT initiative, funded by the Connecticut Health Foundation, FAIR Health developed and disseminated FH® Cost Lookup CT/FH® CC Salud CT, a free mobile app in English and Spanish, designed to improve health insurance literacy and healthcare engagement among Connecticut residents. Introduced in September 2016, the app allows consumers to estimate the costs of medical and dental services performed in Connecticut and neighboring states, offers educational articles that explain health insurance and directs users to community resources. Download the app by visiting the iTunes App Store or Google Play.
Healthcare Engagement for Latino Populations (HELP)
Funded by the New York Community Trust, FAIR Health developed and promoted a Spanish-language mobile app to help New York City’s Hispanic population estimate healthcare costs and learn about health insurance. FH® CCSalud (FH Calculadora de Costos de Salud) features medical and dental cost lookup tools; educational content; and links to external resources. Launched in September 2015 and promoted through community events and digital communications, HELP generated a significant number of mobile app downloads. You can download the app by visiting the iTunes App Store or Google Play
FAIR Health works with academics, healthcare institutions, government agencies and other researchers to explore the use of our data in health systems research on a wide range of topics—for example, how policy change affects healthcare costs and utilization. Other examples include:
FAIR Health Collaboration with West Health and Johns Hopkins University
FAIR Health has partnered with West Health to leverage its data assets to examine COVID-19 patient comorbidities, risk factors and outcomes. Undertaken with Dr. Marty Makary—a professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and professor of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health—the project is expected to result in a set of actionable findings for vulnerable populations, particularly older adults, prior to the fall/winter 2020-21 season, when a greater surge of infections is expected.
FAIR Health, West Health and Dr. Makary will collaborate on the rigorous data analysis during the study period. Using the FAIR Health National Private Insurance Claims (FH NPIC®) database, the analysis will identify risk factors, comorbidities and associated outcomes of those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, with an emphasis on older adult populations. Dr. Makary will oversee a parallel analysis of Medicare data, to study medications hypothesized to be therapeutic agents for COVID-19.
The study, which will yield actionable results in a short time frame, can help inform clinical and policy solutions regarding older adults, especially those at risk for severe morbidity and mortality due to COVID-19, thereby informing prevention, treatment and possible protocols for distributing vaccines, once developed.
This collaboration highlights one of the many ways in which FAIR Health supports health services research. Other examples include:
- Understanding geographic variations and clinical patterns that underlie the opioid epidemic;
- Studying care migration patterns of specific patient populations (e.g., those with diabetes); and
- Developing indicators that predict healthcare costs and utilization for specific services over time.
Learn more about how FAIR Health supports research here.
Expanding the use of our data through consumer-oriented tools and research support
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