A study recently released by Health Affairs shows there are deeply rooted and wide spread beliefs around the ideas that “more is better, newer is better, you get what you pay for, guidelines limit my doctor’s ability to provide me with the care I need and deserve,” says the report. They conclude that consumer’s beliefs, values and knowledge are at odds with what policy makers prescribe as evidence-based health care. Few consumers understood terms such as “medical evidence” or “quality guidelines.” Most believed that more care meant higher-quality better care. The gaps in knowledge and misconception point to serious challenges in engaging consumers in evidence-based decision making.
Often, we see the role of health care marketing as informing and educating our consumers. By doing so, we form a relationship and establish ourselves as leaders in a particular area. At the same time, the research continues to demonstrate how emotionally determined many decisions are. Consumers pick doctors and hospitals they like and trust. They let trusted advisors select drugs, treatments, and protocols on their behalf. This study also shows that consumers were suspicious of the concept of medical guidelines, and were “more inclined to trust their own and their physicians’ judgements of quality.”
Food for thought.