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Care About Your Care campaign wants to empower patients to improve their quality of care

Will educating the American public about how to identify and obtain better medical care effectively reduce the country's health-care costs?

That's the goal of a public health initiative sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). A post today on the Health Blog offers more details on the foundation's Care About Your Care campaign, which will include a live webcast on Thursday:

Studies in recent years have concluded that Americans get recommended care such as immunizations and cancer screenings only 55% of the time, and that about 30% of the U.S. health-care dollar is spent on products and services that don’t improve health, such as unnecessary X-rays. But it also hasn’t been easy to get people to take better care of themselves or play a more active role in seeking good care.

. . .The campaign’s website offers a checklist of nine tips, including learning about the best treatments for a medical condition and questioning why a test or treatment is necessary. While many of the tips seem fairly obvious — like keeping a list of medications and bringing a list of questions to the doctor — [RWJF’s chief, physician Risa Lavizzo-Mourey] says they often aren’t followed. Over 40% of patients, for example, haven’t taken a list of all of their current medications to a doctor’s appointment.

The campaign also hopes to encourage broader use of the growing number of free quality-focused websites to help choose the best doctors and hospitals. The RWJF in July launched an online quality health-care directory to help patients compare local doctors and hospitals with public reports from all over the country, and the new campaign offers a guide on how to use the reports.

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