Meaningful Consumer Engagement: A Toolkit for Plans, Provider Groups and Communities

The Transformative Power of Consumer Engagement

"The key to successful integrated care – especially for older adults and people with disabilities – is active, meaningful consumer engagement, since consumers and their caregivers are at the heart of everything we do."

— Dr. Robert J. Master, Former CEO, Commonwealth Care Alliance

At the Center, we believe that consumer engagement – implemented effectively and sustained over time – is a requisite key to transforming the health care delivery system in ways that are mutually beneficial to consumers and their caregivers and to health plans and provider groups. We have created this toolkit to assist delivery systems in creating strategies and structures to promote meaningful consumer engagement. The goal is to foster an atmosphere of active, ongoing listening, collaboration and conversation that reaches out to engage the full demographic range of consumers a delivery system serves, in order to constantly move forward in meeting their diverse health needs. From surveys and focus groups to member meetings, consumer advisory committees and governing board membership, delivery systems that diversify how they engage consumers will ultimately improve the way all consumers experience and participate in their own health care.   

Active, meaningful consumer engagement gives delivery systems and their consumers the connection they need the most to improve and maintain health and quality of life – information that leads to action. Delivery systems need information from consumers and their caregivers about the stronger and weaker aspects of care delivery – aspects that impact the system’s bottom line as well as consumers’ health outcomes and quality of life. Similarly, consumers and their caregivers need easy-to-understand information about how to best navigate their health care utilization and to have confidence the system is using consumer feedback for continued quality improvement. This “feedback loop” between consumers, their caregivers, and the entire health care delivery system needs to be carefully nurtured and valued across the organization.

The Center looks forward to assisting hospitals, health systems, health plans and public programs on strategies for effectively engaging consumers, utilizing this Meaningful Consumer Engagement toolkit in our consulting engagements. It is based on methods and approaches that have been tested over many years of working with consumer-based organizations interested in playing an active role in shaping the policies and programs that affect them. This toolkit can meet organizations wherever they are in the consumer engagement process, and help broaden and strengthen their practices.