Patient Choice Has Become the Standard Practice in Healthcare Provision: It is Time to Extend its Meaning; Comment on “Is Patient Choice the Future of Health Care Systems?”

Document Type: Commentary

Author

Justus Liebig University Giessen, Giessen, Germany

Abstract

The key argument of this commentary is that patient choice has a broader meaning than suggested by consumerist choice models. In increasingly marketized health care systems with diversified and knowledge-based service arrangements, patients are continuously obliged to choose insurers, physicians or hospitals and treatments—whether they like it or not. However, health care users refer to a wide range of roles and resources while taking health-related decisions. They are patients, consumers and co-producers at the same time. Therefore, as it is argued, healthcare policies have to recognize users’ multiple identities by providing more balanced choice frameworks. In particular, two aspects are crucial: first, opportunities for users to voice worries and concerns and to co-design default options of health care choices; secondly, taking the significance of interpersonal trust in choice-making processes into account.

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