Video from our March 26, 2013 Altarum Institute Health Policy Forum Roundtable "Separating Politics from Health Care Choices: Key “Purple” Messages for All Consumers".


At Altarum's Center for Consumer Choice in Health Care, we believe consumerism is about giving every person the information and tools they need to choose safe, high-quality, affordable health care. When safety, quality, and cost metrics are widely available, all consumers benefit: rich or poor, old or young, city-dweller or rural resident. Politically, consumerism shouldn’t be labeled red or blue; we consider it purple.
In that spirit we offer three (purple) messages that every consumer should know:

1. For every condition, there is always more than one treatment (or non-treatment) option.

  • What is best for one person may not be the same as what is best for someone else. You have a choice! A person's personal goals and values influence what is appropriate.


2. For any medical treatment, there can be a (huge) variation in the safety and quality of its delivery.

  • Because reporting is not mandatory, the public is unaware of the vast differences in errors, infections, readmissions, successful outcomes.
  • Consumers can influence (and improve!) their outcomes and risk by choosing safer, higher-quality care.


3. Within the same level of quality and safety, there can be (huge) differences in price.

  • Because consumers have historically been shielded from cost, and actual costs are often kept hidden, the public is unaware of cost variation.
  • Consumers can influence (personal and overall) cost of care by choosing high-quality, lower-cost providers.


Read more about the purple messages for consumers.


Wendy Lynch, Center Co-Director, appears on and outlines ways companies can control employee health benefits and absence costs:



Listen to Center Co-Director Wendy Lynch talk about purple messages on The Institute for HealthCare Consumerism radio broadcast:


Leapfrog Group CEO, Leah Binder, discusses the results of her organization’s recent groundbreaking Hospital Safety Score:


Listen to the entire radio program here:

Event Date & Location

Tue, Mar 26, 2013 - 1:00pm to 5:00pm
Pew Charitable Trusts
Washington, DC

Subject Matter Experts

Contact Information

Marijka Lischak