Understanding Treatment Options

It’s important for employers to provide employees and their family’s with accurate, easy-to-understand information about their health plan coverage to help them make informed decisions about their health, decide from various treatment options and make the best choices when picking which providers and hospitals/health care delivery systems work best.

To best support employees, a company should partner with their health plans and health management vendors to make sure costs of different treatment options, along with associated levels of coverage, are clearly communicated (i.e. benefits at-a-glance, open enrollment materials) and can be easily accessed, such as being placed on an employers’ Intranet employee portal.     

With most people turning to the internet to get information about their health, it is important for an employer to provide their employees with access to credible resources. There are a wide variety of credible resources now available that can help individuals better understand their condition and associated treatment options. 

Below are some great resources to consider:

Merck Engage-Healthy Conversations website 
provides a wealth of information to help individuals manage their health. Included on this site are educational videos, as well as checklists, test and medication logs, etc. that are available to download.

MBGH’s Take Control of Your Health website
 is intended to help consumers obtain information on managing their health and the health of their families. Consumers can use this site to be knowledgeable, effective partners with their doctors when making decisions about the need for various tests, procedures, drugs, and the use of other medical providers and facilities.

Choosing Wisely, a national campaign by Consumer Reports and the AIBM Foundation, provides a variety of no-cost resources that employers can provide their employees to encourage important conversations between consumers and their physician. This national campaign was rolled out to the public in 2011 and to date, over 24 medical specialty societies have highlighted about 120 medical tests and procedures that have either been overused or misused in diagnosing and monitoring a variety of chronic conditions.

The campaign provides important educational materials on these tests and procedures as well as a number of resources to help consumers become more empowered in partnering with their doctor to receive high quality care.  Employers can also access an employer toolkit that provides a number of resources they can use in educating their employees about the dangers and issues associated with the overuse of health care services.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Effective Health Care Program, Explore Your Treatment Options website provides information to consumers on how to have more productive conversations with their doctor about different treatment choices.  It includes consumer tools for making health priorities as well as a glossary of terms that doctors frequently use but may be confusing to the patient. 

For additional resources, see the Resources section