Consumers in Health Care: The Burden of Choice

By Dale Shaller

This is archived content; for historical reference only.

As consumers assume greater responsibility for their own health care, they are being asked to make more — and more complex —decisions than ever before. At the same time, the increase in available information and in the customization of health care products and services has ratcheted up the need for understandable information that aids in consumer health care decision-making.

This 2005 report distills the latest research on consumer decision-making, explores the methods consumers use to make choices, and looks at what influences affect consumer action. The research suggests important implications for the development of effective information tools for consumers, including the need to:

  • Make information relevant and appropriate to specific decisions;
  • Use creative ways to help consumers simplify their choices;
  • Target information at the right audience;
  • Work through trusted advisors and intermediaries;
  • Cultivate an image as a trusted source;
  • Integrate information to offer the benefit of one-stop service; and
  • Emphasize benefits, not features.

The full report is available under Document Downloads.