Patients urged to consider care options

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has announced a new multimedia ad campaign, "Explore Your Treatment Options," to encourage 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 healthcare 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.

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 a list of their own health priorities and share it with their clinicians during medical appointments. The tools are available at http://www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/options.