4 ways to educate patients about the Affordable Care Act


With much of the reform law upheld, hospital executives and other industry leaders need to help patients get a clue about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to improve outcomes and costs.

Not sure how to inform patients about health reform? Here are four ways to keep patients informed and involved with their care under new ACA provisions, according to industry experts.

1. Form a strategy team
Before educating patients, hospitals themselves must know how the Supreme Court ruling will impact their facility and residents. With that in mind, Arrowhead Regional Medical Center (ARMC) in California formed a strategy reform team to review the decision and evaluate potential long- and short-term opportunities.

"The decision will have far-reaching opportunities, but we just won't know what they will be until we review all of the language," ARMC Director Patrick Petre said in a statement following the high court's ruling.

The team's analysis will involve County of San Bernardino leaders and the California Association of Public Hospitals to gain a better understanding of what the ruling means.

2. Offer patients an online resource
As consumers increasingly use the Internet to seek out health information, hospitals should look to St. Francis Medical Center in California, which, along with the Catholic Health Association (CHA), offers patients an online resource with easy-to-understand information about the healthcare law and what it means for their care.

CHA joins the American Medical Association and other organizations representing patients, physicians, nurses, hospitals and pharmacists as part of the Health Care and You Coalition to help Americans understand the ACA. "HealthCareandYou.org is a place where patients, healthcare professionals and small business owners can turn for state-by-state information about the law and how it impacts them," AMA President Jeremy A. Lazarus, M.D., told FierceHealthcare.