There is considerable evidence that consumer involvement in health care improves the quality of health information and the health outcomes for those using the health service. Consumer engagement has also been shown to improve quality and safety and increase both consumer and community support.
There are specific benefits of involving consumers in policy development. For example, getting views and consumer opinions about new approaches that may affect the way health care will be planned and delivered in the community. Interacting with consumers as policies are developed can provide unique perspectives to those on the policy development team.
- opportunity for consumers to influence the final outcome
- means for including people who may have an interest in the issue and will likely be affected by the outcome
- way to encourage discussion among and with stakeholders
- means for consumers to provide input to the shape of policy directions
- two-way information exchange
Consumers have certainly educated me over the last twenty years that they don’t want to be consulted at the last minute; they want to be in from the beginning and that’s good because it means that you formulate better policies and programs.
—Rosemary Knight, Principal Advisor, Department of Health and Ageing