VALUE IN HEALTHCARE IS A COMPLEX CONCEPT
The word value describes the relative worth, utility, or importance of something in particular. In the healthcare system, patients, providers, employers, insurers and others may have different perspectives of value in healthcare. A patient’s perspective on value in healthcare through the menopause journey is an important topic to consider.
What is value in healthcare?
There are many definitions of value in healthcare. Some focus on the relationship between healthcare outcomes and resources used. Also, different stakeholders in the healthcare system may have different perspectives of the value of healthcare. For example, if a patient has a medical problem, she may find value in a medicine or therapy that treats the symptoms associated with the condition.
A doctor may find value from a healthcare recommendation that prevents or delays a medical problem from occurring in a patient. An employer might find value in healthcare activities that help their employees come to work every-day. Ultimately, however, the value in healthcare that a patient experiences can only be determined by the patient.
What are some ways patient's experience value in healthcare?
Patients receive healthcare in a system. Because of this they may experience value in healthcare from different elements within the system such as:
- Visits with their doctor or healthcare providers
- Efforts to prevent disease or maintain healthy living
- Laboratory and radiology tests to evaluate medical problems
- Medicines or vaccines to treat or prevent disease, illness or symptoms
- Other healthcare support or services
Patients may also consider their:
- Access to care
- Coordination of care
- Continuity of care
- Communication of care
- Respect to their choices or needs.
Why is it important for a woman to consider value in healthcare and menopause?
A patient’s perspective of value in healthcare is an important topic through all stages of life. Menopause in particular is a key life transition that all women pass through and incorporates a broad set of medical issues or concerns. Women may have many questions about what to expect through and after menopause and what this stage of life means to them. Sometimes these questions may be difficult to address because every woman experiences menopause differently. Also, there are differences in the ways that menopause is addressed by her healthcare system. For example, some women may be counseled by an obstetrician/gynecologist, while others receive recommendations from their primary care physician or a nurse.
As a result, and depending on her journey through menopause, a woman many may consider healthcare elements that impact her experience of value in healthcare such as:
- Menopause education
- Diagnosis or testing associated with menopause or its symptoms
- Potential medicines or treatments for the treatment of menopause symptoms
- Support, monitoring, evaluation or counseling activities
- Recommendations around disease prevention and healthy living
Can women talk to their healthcare provider about value in healthcare?
Patients should feel comfortable discussing with their provider the concept of value in healthcare. This can help ensure that expectations between the patient and provider are aligned. For example, medicines are one aspect of healthcare. Example of just some of the possible questions that a woman can consider asking her provider about the value of medicines can include:
- How will it cure or prevent symptoms?
- How will it help treat or reduce the symptoms?
- How will its use help reduce risk for a medical condition?
- How will its use help offset other healthcare costs?
Patients can use these questions to start ongoing conversation with their healthcare provider.