Zach Stone, Communications & Community Engagement Coordinator

How do you want to transform health care? The question rarely elicits the same response among health care advocates. Do you want a more intelligible health care system for consumers? Or are you most concerned about transparency in health care costs? What about reforming the way we deliver and pay for care by moving away from a fee-for-service system? Or maybe, you want it all?

Well, you’re not alone—but we have to start somewhere. So, we provided the attendees of our 8th Annual Colorado Voices for Coverage (CVC) Conference with a wall to share their greatest passions, priorities and concerns when it comes to building a better health care system for consumers. As the day progressed, the wall evolved, functioning something like a microcosm of the conference’s themes.

The opening keynote, Ann Hwang, Director of the Center for Consumer Engagement in Health Innovation (CCEHI), argued that excluding the consumer voice from health system transformation is akin to an architect remodeling a house without consulting the homeowner. Hwang spoke of CCEHI’s efforts to change that model, and get the most vulnerable consumers at the table shaping the transformation of our health care system. On the wall, someone wrote, “consumer voice heard.” “Change the power dynamic,” wrote another.

In an afternoon breakout session on improving consumer literacy in health care, Jeanine Limone Draut of InPraxis Communications spoke of the need to equip consumers with the right tools to take ownership of and engage in a dialogue on their care. That frame of consumer empowerment was echoed on the conference wall: “Empowering clients to advocate for themselves when dealing with healthcare and insurance providers,” read one card. Another: “Helping consumers be active in their health care experiences.”

Of course, not every card on the wall neatly paralleled a major theme of the conference. Participants of the conference also wrote on technology in healthcare, LGBTQ health access and other important issues that expanded the conversation, and that’s something we hope to continue. In the coming months, we’ll be tweeting out pictures of these cards along with the hashtag #CVC16. We encourage all of our friends on social media to share these pictures and join in the dialogue. So, if you’d like to participate, you may want to start contemplating: How do you want to transform health care? 

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