2004 Book Gives Information to Help Consumers Navigate the Health Care System

Developing a book to help consumers understand and navigate the health care system

In 2004, the Foundation for Accountability (FACCT), Portland, Ore., helped research and supervise content review of a book, Understanding Healthcare, that is designed to help consumers navigate the health care system.

FACCT was a nonprofit organization that advocated a consumer role in ensuring accountability and helping to shape the delivery of health care; it has since ceased operations.

FACCT researched the content for the book on health care delivery and systems issues. Staff also coordinated a review of all content by dozens of experts.

Key Results

Understanding Healthcare covers individual health, the medical community and the broader health care system through graphical two-page spreads.

Each spread:

  • Answers one main question (e.g., What should I know about experimental medicine?).
  • Addresses several sub-questions.
  • Provides facts, action items and easy references to related books and Web pages.


The book can be purchased in bookstores and through www.Amazon.com. The full text may also be accessed online. The publisher has sold approximately 60,000 copies.

The author and publisher of the book, Richard Saul Wurman, has since distributed approximately 2,000 copies of the book free of charge at several national meetings of leaders in health care and medicine. USA Today, Newsweek and other general-interest publications carried reviews of the book, and Discover magazine reprinted content from the book in several of its issues.