fbpx The Changing Role of Consumers in Health Care Purchasing: Medical Perspectives | Harvard Kennedy School
M-RCBG Senior Fellow-Led Study Group: Deborah Gordon

The Changing Role of Consumers in Health Care Purchasing: Medical Perspectives 
October 15, 4:00-5:30 pm | M-RCBG Conference Room (Belfer 503)

Why do Americans pay so much for health care, and still play such a passive role in the system? What role should consumers play in American health care? As the financial responsibility for health care purchasing shifts substantially to consumers, what impact does — and should — it have on patient-doctor relationships? What role should doctors and other clinicians play in understanding and managing health care costs? How do consumers’ evolving expectations of quality, service, and value influence clinical practice? Should they?

Join this study group to learn about health care consumerism research conducted through the MRCBG. The study had two parts – a review of medical record notes to determine the prevalence of cost considerations documented in electronic health records, and a qualitative study with consumers to understand their experiences as health care purchasers. The research illuminates the growing role of cost in health care decision-making, and how consumers experience health care purchasing.

All are welcome, but we especially hope medical students, residents, and other clinicians will attend to share your opinions on the evolving role of consumers in health care. 


deb.gordan_small.jpgDeborah Gordon is a seasoned health care executive and a thought leader in health care consumerism. She currently advises entrepreneurial ventures and other companies on consumer strategies, engagement, and marketing in health care. Deb was formerly CEO of Voxent, a national technology firm supporting reproductive health providers with custom electronic health record and analytics tools and a national data warehouse. Deb had previously held health insurance leadership roles, notably as Chief Marketing and External Affairs Officer at Network Health, a Massachusetts health plan now part of Tufts Health Plan and ranked NCQA’s #1 Medicaid plan nationally. Under Deb’s leadership, Network Health received hundreds of awards, including Health Leaders Magazine’s Top Leadership Team award. She helped the plan double its membership under Massachusetts health reform, expand product assortment, and transition to the ACA. Deb was recognized as a 2011 Boston Business Journal “40 Under 40” honoree, an award highlighting Boston’s most influential business and civic leaders. In 2013, Deb was named an Eisenhower Fellow, a non-partisan program chaired by retired General Colin Powell that fosters the exchange of information, ideas, and perspectives among global leaders. On her fellowship, Deb traveled to Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore to explore the role of consumers in high-performing health systems. She has served on Harvard University’s Advisory Committee on Shareholder Responsibility, as a Board member in MIT’s Delta V start-up accelerator, and as a mentor in Boston University’s Business Health Sector program. She has served on the Editorial Advisory Board for Fierce Health Payer and as Fierce Healthcare’s Innovation Awards’ head judge, and on Marketing Health Services’ Editorial Board, the Advisory Group for Massachusetts’ Choosing Wisely campaign, and several nonprofit Boards. Deb earned a B.A. in Bioethics from Brown University and an MBA with distinction from Harvard Business School. As a Senior Fellow, Deb will research health care shopping and how to improve functioning of consumer markets in health care. As a Senior Fellow, her research is entitled Beyond Health Care Transparency: Applying Marketing Principles to Improve the Functioning of Consumer Health Care Markets. Her faculty sponsor is Joseph Newhouse, John D. MacArthur Professor of Health Policy and Management at Harvard Kennedy School. Email: deborah_gordon@hks.harvard.edu