ANN ARBOR (WWJ) — There is a growing body of evidence that patients who are more actively involved in their health care have better health outcomes and incur lower costs.

Health IT can improve the quality of the health care experience and strengthen the interaction between patients and health care providers. Altarum is highlighting its programs on Consumer Health IT Day, which kicks off National Health IT Week, Sept. 16-20.

Altarum has a number of specific initiatives focused on consumer engagement and activation. One is the “Reducing Inappropriate High-tech Imaging” project that provides physicians with recommendations for their patients on using high-tech imaging such as MRIs and CT-Scans.

“We received a strong message from physicians about the challenges in responding to patient requests for high-tech imaging,” said Bobbi Coluni, deputy director of Altarum’s Information and Technology Strategies group. “And from that, we developed a clinical decision support tool and education materials that physicians can provide to support shared decision-making with their patients.”

Altarum is making these patient education materials available free of charge through a website that launched Monday, Consumer Health IT Day.

Another consumer engagement tool is the Altarum Consumer Engagement survey. This 15-question survey measures consumer behavior in managing their own health and making health care decisions. ACE is supported by Safeway Health and is being tested in clinical settings.

“Having a tool to measure consumer engagement in a population is critically important to inform strategy, tailor communications, and monitor change in engagement over time,” said Wendy Lynch, co-director of Altarum’s Center for Consumer Choice in Health Care. “Our ACE scale can help organizations and providers better understand their patients and how to engage them to improve satisfaction and quality of care.”

Altarum also leads the Michigan Center for Effective IT Adoption on behalf of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. M-CEITA works with Michigan providers to accelerate the selection, adoption, and meaningful use of health information technology to improve the quality and efficiency of health care delivery. With new, Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements raising the bar on patient engagement, the M-CEITA team is providing new services to help physicians transform their practices to more effectively engage patients.

For more information about Altarum’s tools and services to assist with consumer engagement in health care, please click here, or contact Bobbi Coluni.

Altarum Institute provides research and consulting to the health care industry. It employs more than 400 people at its Ann Arbor headquarters and branch offices in Washington, D.C., Portland, Maine and San Antonio, Texas.

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