Why Health Consumer Engagement?

Healthcare is better when we listen, understand and respond to the people who use health services.

Why Health Consumer Engagement?

Healthcare is better when we listen, understand and respond to the people who use health services.

People have the right and duty to participate individually and collectively in the planning and implementation of their health care.

Declaration of Alma-Ata, World Health Organisation, 1978. 

What is consumer engagement?

Consumer Engagement (sometimes called participation) is about involving consumers in decision-making. Be it decisions at an individual level – around people’s own health, treatments and illness-management (consumer centred care) or at health service level – around policy development, service design, delivery and evaluation.

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So, what are the reasons that consumer engagement is so important in health care?

  1. Ethics and democracy – participating in decisions that impact on people’s own health is an ethical and democratic right. Those who are affected by a decision have a right to participate in the decision-making process that impacts their health.
  2. Improved health outcomes – Evidence shows that consumer involvement in health care leads to safer and higher quality health care services and better health and policy outcomes.
  3. Improved health services and delivery – engagement ensures health services are delivered effectively and closely targeted to people’s needs. This leads to more safe, efficient and cost-effective services, models of care and facilities.
  4. Accreditation and Legal Requirements – consumer engagement also serves a strategic purpose. Across Australia, the importance of consumer engagement is supported and upheld by a number of policies and frameworks.