Alegent Health Establishes “Power to the Patient” Forum to Focus on Increasing Consumers’ Engagement in Health Care
Release Date: 11/05/2007

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Not-for-profit forum to help leaders share best practices on engaging consumers in price, quality transparency and personal health care decisions.

OMAHA, Neb.– Alegent Health, a leading faith-based health system in Nebraska and Iowa, announced today the establishment of a not-for-profit educational forum designed to help health care organizations develop the systems and policies to provide consumers the necessary information to make more informed decisions about their care. Using Alegent Health’s own experiences with providing easily understood health care quality scores and personally relevant pricing information, the ”Power to the Patient” forum will share Alegent Health’s proprietary methodology and technology developments to any interested health care system that attends. The first of two forums in 2008 will be held January 15 -16.

“Alegent Health is committed to innovation and to empowering consumers to make informed health care decisions calls for us to look beyond the region in which we operate and offer our expertise to providers from across the country,” said Alegent Health CEO Wayne Sensor. “We believe inviting consumers into the decision process about their health care will dramatically improve health care quality and lower costs. We have proven this with our own workforce and the people we serve and we want to share our roadmap to price and quality transparency.”

Supporting the forum will be MEDSEEK, an Enterprise eHealth solutions provider focused on connecting information and people in order to provide better care and promote community advocacy. Together, Alegent Health and MEDSEEK designed Alegent Health’s My Cost online information tool that estimates a consumer’s actual cost and out-of-pocket expenses for nearly 500 medical tests and procedures based on that individual’s health insurance plan. Since Alegent Health launched the patent-pending tool in January 2007, more than 25,000 consumers have used it to generate costs estimates.

“Information technology is at the core of our ability to better serve consumers,” noted Sensor. “Whether it’s providing patients accurate pricing and quality information through the Internet, or implementing greater use of it in our practice settings, our experiences in putting information technology to work for the benefit of consumers is something we are eager to share openly. That is what the “Power to the Patient” forum is about—helping other health care providers to learn from our mistakes and benefit from our experiences.”

Throughout the forum’s curriculum, Alegent Health will utilize many of the techniques from its Right Track accelerated decision making process to provide interested health systems a better understanding of the organizational commitment required to map out transparency and consumer-driven health care strategies. Adapted for the health care system by Alegent Health’s Chief Innovation Officer, Ted Schwab — one of the nation’s first health system CIOs — similar advanced decision making processes are used by America’s most innovative companies.

“Solutions to the most critical challenges facing the health care industry require bringing together the right people at the right time to make the right decisions,” said Schwab. “In the future, we hope the “Power to the Patient” forum can evolve beyond its initial focus to help forge consensus on many of the broader issues about engaging consumers in health care decisions, spending and reform.”

For more information about Alegent Health’s “Power to the Patient” forum, its My Cost online price estimator or its Right Track accelerated decision making process log on to and click on Power to the Patient.

Alegent Health is the largest not-for-profit, faith-based health care system in Nebraska and southwestern Iowa with nine acute care hospitals, more than 100 sites of service, over 1,300 physicians on its medical staff and roughly 8,600 employees. Alegent Health is making health care better with an exceptional commitment to quality and by providing patient focused care for the body, mind and spirit of every person consistent with its faith-based mission. Alegent Health continues the health ministry begun by its sponsors, Catholic Health Initiatives and Immanuel Health Systems, more than a hundred years ago. At Alegent Health, patients and their families find a continuum of care, from women's and children's services, primary care, wellness counseling, and senior care to cardiovascular services, orthopaedics, oncology, physical rehabilitation, home care and behavioral health.