Category Archives: Consumer engagement

Apr 22 2014

Tracking the Affordable Care Act with the RAND Health Reform Opinion Study

Katherine Grace Carman, PhD, is an economist at the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation and an alumna of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Scholars in Health Policy Research program.


Since September 2013, the RAND Health Reform Opinion Study (HROS) has been collecting data about both public opinion regarding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and insurance enrollment among respondents of the RAND American Life Panel.

The HROS uses panel data to track changes in public opinion regarding the ACA and insurance coverage.  We survey the same respondents each month. This allows us to observe not only aggregate changes, but also individual respondents changing their opinion or insurance coverage over time. Respondents are split into four groups and one group is surveyed each week. This allows us to present updated information on a weekly basis, while not burdening survey respondents.

One of the most notable findings of our study has been the increase in insurance coverage between September 2013 and March 2014, with an estimated net gain of 9.3 million in the number insured. The margin of error for this estimate is 3.5 million. The newly insured have gained access to insurance through a variety of insurance types, with the largest gains through employer-sponsored insurance (ESI). One might expect larger gains through Medicaid or the exchanges than through ESI. While our data do not allow us to tease out the causes of this gain in ESI, some possible explanations include: greater take-up of previously offered benefits, an improved economy leading more people to hold jobs (or have family members with jobs) that offer ESI, or an increase in employers offering ESI. These results on insurance coverage transitions have been discussed widely in the media, so here we want to bring your attention to some of the other findings of the HROS.

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Jul 25 2013

Today: Twitter Chat on How to Be an Engaged Patient

Join U.S. News & World Report this afternoon for a Twitter chat about how patients in hospitals can take ownership of their care and become actively engaged and informed about their treatment.

Among the experts participating in the chat is Marianne Weiss, DNSc, RN, a grantee of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative. Weiss is a researcher focusing on improving patients’ experience with hospital discharge and the role nurses play in discharge preparation and the discharge transition. Her research on patient perceptions of discharge teaching, readiness for discharge, and coping difficulty at home following hospital discharge have highlighted the importance of inclusion of patient voice to improve discharge experiences.

She will join representatives from the National Patient Safety Foundation, the Patient Advocate Foundation, and CNN’s Elizabeth Cohen, among others, for the chat.

Date: Thursday, July 25
Time: 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET
Hashtag: #PatientChat
Moderator: @USNewsHealth
Experts: @INQRIprogram, @RWJF_HumanCap, @theNPSF, @NPAF_tweets, @TrishaTorrey, @tedeytan, @elizcohencnn

Learn more about the chat.

Apr 20 2012

National Donate Life Month: How a Video Can Increase the Number of Organ Donors

By Daryl Thornton, MD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine at the MetroHealth campus of Case Western Reserve University, and an alumnus of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Clinical Scholars program and the RWJF Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program


Imagine you’re at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), waiting to get your driver’s license. As you wait, you watch a five-minute video on an iPod. In it, a daughter describes how excited she is that her father, whose life was saved by a heart transplant, will be able to attend her high school graduation. Another girl mentions how she was able to attend her high school prom because someone donated a new heart to her. And a woman talks about her choice to become a living donor, and meeting the recipient of her kidney. In all, you watch 20 people—of different ages and ethnicities—tell their transplant stories in their own words.

Now it’s your turn at the counter. Do you have them place that red heart on your driver’s license?

Today, more than 113,000 people in the United States are waiting for organ transplants. More than half of those on the waiting list are minorities. But in 2011, only 14,000 people donated their organs while the waiting list grew by another 51,000 people.

In a study recently published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, my colleagues and I found that people were more likely to consent to become organ donors after watching a short iPod video at the DMV that addressed common concerns about organ donation and included testimonials from donors, transplant recipients and their loved ones. Eighty-four percent of people who watched the video—compared to 72 percent who did not—consented to be an organ donor on their driver’s permits, licenses or identification cards.

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