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Patients urged to consider options before choosing treatment (6/30)

June 30, 2011
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"Explore Your Treatment Options," a new multimedia ad campaign announced today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the Ad Council, encourages patients to become more informed about their options before choosing a treatment for a health condition or illness. 

The goal of this campaign is to increase consumers' involvement in their care by providing easy access to unbiased information about treatment options and tools to encourage patients to work with their doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other clinicians to make health care decisions. It features television, radio, print, web and outdoor ads that encourage consumers to visit AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program Web site to find plain-language guides that summarize the scientific evidence on treatments for numerous medical conditions, including diabetes, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and more. 

"We see the best outcomes when doctors and patients work together to come up with a treatment plan that takes into account the patient's quality-of-life concerns," said AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D. "Information is power in health care, and this campaign will provide patients with the information they need to become partners with their doctors in their health and health care." 

Since 2005, AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program has compared the outcomes and effectiveness of different treatments and communicated findings to providers and consumers to help them make informed decisions about health care. For example, Treating High Cholesterol: A Guide for Adults, provides easy-to-understand information about different kinds of cholesterol medicines, including how they work and their side effects. The guide also includes a list of questions that patients can ask their doctors to help them choose their best treatment option. 

As part of the campaign, AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program Web site features personal stories from patients with chronic conditions who achieved better health results by exploring their treatment options. In addition, a new Health Priorities Snapshot tool features questions about common daily activities and allows users to rate the importance of quality-of-life concerns. Patients can print out a list of their own health priorities and share it with their clinicians during medical appointments. These features are available at www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov.

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