BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (September 15, 2022)—As part of an initiative funded by the John A. Hartford Foundation, FAIR Health, a national, independent nonprofit organization, launched five new shared decision-making tools, three new FH Total Treatment Cost tools, educational content and resources related to the care of older adults. This initiative aims to advance shared decision making among older patients, especially those with serious illnesses, as well as their caregivers and care partners, by providing them with the information and resources needed to make informed healthcare decisions and better navigate the healthcare system. You can access the tools here.
The tools, content and resources were launched on a dedicated section for older adults and caregivers on FAIR Health's free consumer website, fairhealthconsumer.org, which also houses tools and resources relevant to palliative care for seriously ill patients. The new tools combine clinical and cost information associated with different treatment options for early-stage breast cancer, hip osteoarthritis, hip replacement, spinal stenosis and fast-growing prostate cancer. FAIR Health also launched "total treatment cost" scenarios highlighting the range of costs associated with three conditions particularly relevant to an older population: Alzheimer's disease/dementia, heart failure and major depression. In addition to these tools, the newly created Older Adult section features explanatory content about the conditions, a section on financial health literacy, patient- and caregiver-oriented checklists with suggested questions to ask providers, and links to external resources relevant to the conditions.
Shared decision-making (the discussion between clinicians and patients and/or their patient caregivers to decide on treatment options that incorporate patient values and preferences) has been shown to increase patient engagement and satisfaction, reduce healthcare costs and improve treatment outcomes. This is especially important considering the growing issue of "financial toxicity"—the financial, emotional and mental burden patients experience from medical costs, which can lead to diminished access to care and reduced quality of life. By providing tools that combine clinical and cost information, FAIR Health seeks to improve financial health literacy among older patients, their caregivers and their care partners.
FAIR Health will disseminate the tools to older patients, family caregivers, care partners and providers in four major urban centers—New York City, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Chicago—and their environs. Providers can access the tools here on FAIR Health's provider-centered website, fairhealthprovider.org. An evaluation of the utility and value of the tools will follow in the wake of this launch.
"We thank the John A. Hartford Foundation for its generous support of our efforts to empower older patients and family caregivers in navigating the healthcare system with actionable tools and information," FAIR Health President Robin Gelburd said. "This initiative will engage older adults and caregivers and care partners in healthcare decision-making, and help them better manage their healthcare costs."
"In keeping with our commitment to advancing age-friendly care, the John A. Hartford Foundation is proud to support FAIR Health's efforts to promote its new healthcare engagement tools and resources," said foundation Vice President of Programs Rani E. Snyder. "A wide range of stakeholders—in particular, older adults, family caregivers and care partners—will benefit from the tools and resources provided as part of this initiative."