Consumer Reports, a partner in Choosing Wisely®, is helping employers educate their employees about their health care. In an effort to help them make wise choices, Consumer Reports is developing a new Making Healthy Choices toolkit that employees can use to learn about high-value care.
Consumer Reports’ first phase of the project included a new partnership with IBM. Senior Health and Quality Advisor for IBM, Ashish Parikh, MD, sought tools offering unbiased information on health care quality and cost, leveraging internal and external data, to ensure that employees and their families work with their physicians to get the right health care at the right time.
As a board certified internist who still sees patients once a week, Dr. Parikh was familiar with the Choosing Wisely campaign and said he found patient-friendly tools and materials provided by Consumer Reports helpful during conversations with his patients about avoiding unnecessary care.
“We are hoping that by providing this information, the right health care choice becomes the easiest choice for IBM employees,” Dr. Parikh said.
Dr. Parikh saw an opportunity to distribute these resources to IBM’s employees and their families, and reached out to Consumer Reports to start a new partnership. After discussing how to promote Choosing Wisely in a succinct and accessible way that would resonate with viewers, the organizations created the Making Healthy Choices video.
“We wanted the message to employees to be about having an open conversation with your physician when any test, treatment or procedure is ordered,” Dr. Parikh said.
The result is an engaging nine-minute animated video that presents real-world scenarios and evidence-based recommendations. It was incorporated into IBM’s engagement platform earlier this year.
“Everyone is very busy, and it’s hard to hold people’s attention,” Dr. Parikh said. “We rolled the video out during open enrollment at the beginning of the year, when people are more engaged with their health care.”
To encourage utilization IBM offered financial incentives toward a health savings account for employees and their family members who used the tools and viewed the video. The video is accessible to the more than 200,000 IBM employees and family members in the U.S. So far, the video has racked up more than 1,000 views and efforts continue to promote it to members, Dr. Parikh said.
Consumer Reports is using what it learned from its work with IBM to develop pilot programs with other employers. It plans to offer them an expanded Making Healthy Choices toolkit, including a website designed to be used in tandem with the video.
The nine-minute video will be broken up into shorter segments and embedded into a Making Healthy Choices website. (Watch the first video segment.) After viewing the clips, visitors will be able to learn more with links to Choosing Wisely recommendations and materials. IBM assisted in shaping the website’s content and design.
“The video would be a jumping off point for all of this. It’s a hook and then you go in and see other recommendations,” Dr. Parikh said.
Similarly, an app – the third component of the toolkit – will provide supporting materials to the video that patients can access on the go. After collecting feedback from pilot employers this spring, Consumer Reports plans to extend its Making Healthy Choices toolkit to all of its partners later this year with the ability to customize offerings for different employers.