WHIO Expands Health Literacy Outreach

August 01, 2016

The Wisconsin Health Information Organization has renewed its support of a statewide program to increase patient involvement in their health care.

The Wisconsin Health Information Organization (WHIO) has renewed its support of a statewide program to increase patient involvement in their health care. Phase Two of The Consumer Engagement & Activation through Health Literacy project will build on the success of a pilot program to improve consumers’ understanding of health care quality and value, engage them more fully in health care decision-making, and enhance their ability to obtain, and effectively use, health insurance and services. Phase One of the project, conducted by Covering Wisconsin and Wisconsin Health Literacy, also aimed to increase health care professionals’ awareness of effective communication with their patients on health coverage and care, and enlist their support in encouraging consumers to play an active role in their health care.

“WHIO is delighted to again partner with Covering Wisconsin and Wisconsin Health Literacy in this important project,” said WHIO CEO Jo Musser. “The Consumer Engagement & Activation through Health Literacy program reflects and bolsters WHIO’s goals to improve the quality, efficiency, accessibility and safety of health care in Wisconsin. Through this project, we look forward to enhancing WHIO’s efforts to educate consumers and engage providers in forging strong doctor/patient partnerships for better care,” Musser said.

The Consumer Engagement & Activation through Health Literacy program began in 2014 with funding provided by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services through WHIO. Originally implemented in 13 urban and rural counties, the project evaluated consumers’ understanding of health coverage and care, including terminology, purposes and practices. Focusing on those new to insurance coverage, and those with lower health literacy skills, lesser health care utilization, and more negative outcomes, preliminary evaluations, compared with eight control group counties, led to consumer workshops, easy-to-understand guides, training for professionals and increased attention to health literacy among providers.

The project also conducted a thorough health literacy assessment of the newly launched, consumer-oriented website MyHealthWI.org, which is powered by WHIO to convey these priority messages:

·      Not all health care is the same; some is better than others.
·      You have a role to play in getting good health care and good health.
·      Your choice of primary care doctor is very important to your health.

Goals of Phase Two of The Consumer Engagement & Activation through Health Literacy project are, within a larger geographic range, to:

- Further promote consumer and provider awareness and use of MyHealthWI.org resources to improve health care quality;

- Advance State Health Innovation Plan (SHIP) and Healthiest Wisconsin 2020 initiatives to improve consumers' active participation and informed decision-making in health and health care; and

- Improve health literacy and health insurance literacy to increase consumer use of MyHealthWI.org resources and other health care decision tools.

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