The options for involving consumers are almost unlimited and include an enormous range of activities.
The Framework provides examples of possible areas for involving consumers. A significant part of consumer engagement is understanding and being explicit about the role consumers are expected to fulfil. The broader levels of participation include surveys and focus groups. The higher levels of participation include consumer representation on committees (from ethics committees to patient safety), involvement in organisational strategic planning and many aspects of quality improvement.
There is now clear evidence that the higher the level of consumer involvement the greater the impact on health outcomes.
Some of the main ways that consumers are involved with health services are:
- service planning
- improving patient care throughout the cancer pathway
- education and information
- service measurement and evaluation
- participation in the research cycle
- policy planning and development
- priority setting