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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Rutgers: Professor Examines Whether Patients Should Be Considered Consumers

According to a new article led by Rutgers School of Public Health associate professor, Dr. Michael K. Gusmano, patients should not be viewed as consumers.

There is broad support for building health care systems that are patient centered, seen as a means of improving health outcomes and as morally worthy in itself. But the concept of patient-centered care has increasingly merged with the concept of patients as consumers, which “is conceptually confused and potentially harmful,” according to the authors, who included Dr. Karen J. Maschke, a Hastings Center research scholar; and Hastings Center president Dr. Mildred Z. Solomon.

The metaphor of patients as consumers, long used by advocates of patient-centered care, has recently been co-opted by critics of government health care regulation and advocates of market solutions to health care costs. Drs. Gusmano, Maschke, and Solomon provide the following reasons as to why the consumer metaphor is inappropriate.

Patient-Centered Care, Yes; Patients As Consumers, No,” was recently published in Health Affairs.