by Evan Boswell
Two-thirds of cavities can be fixed simply by spreading a solution called silver diamine fluoride, or SDF. The solution covers the cavity and allows it to heal, with the only drawback being that it stains the affected area black. Heartburn can often be treated by sleeping on a slight incline, while many heartburn medications can cause kidney problems if taken long term. Quizzify, a service that specializes in educating users on health literacy, is a service that can teach all of this and more. It places information on treatment for common conditions in easily understood, small chunks, allowing users to take their health into their own hands.
The lack of health literacy among adults costs the United States $236 billion dollars each year. As a result, patients are over treated, leaving them sicker and poorer. Compounding this, doctors are often incentivized to neglect cheaper, less invasive treatment options because they're less profitable, instead pushing elaborate, often permanently damaging surgeries. For instance, you may not have heard of SDF before because dentists don't often utilize it, as it costs $30 as opposed to the upwards of $100 cost of a cavity drilling and filling. Dentists are even required, by law, to suggest this route when treating children, but often don't anyways. These practices are based upon the premise that the patient lacks the information to argue their case. Healthcare is extremely complex, both when it comes to the scientific elements (medication, surgery, etc.) as well as the financial, a complexity that is exacerbated by the esoteric nature of much of healthcare. Doctors are, ostensibly, there to help patients to the best of their ability.
Brian Uhlig, Senior Partner with Alera Group, shares what medical literacy means for employees, too, explaining “When the employee encounters whatever medical situation they run into, they actually know where to turn for the right information. What the heck is my Benefit Plan offer? And what are the resources and value ads that are even available? Do I have an MRI solution? Do I have a pre surgical provider? Do I have a $0 generic program?” According to him, “Maybe it's health literacy, or maybe it's more benefit literacy or employee engagement.”
Hospitals in the US are ultimately, however, a business, so they take measures to increase their profit margins, and the best way of doing so is to push the more expensive treatment options. When you’re panicked, in pain, and uncertain, it is very difficult to argue back with an authority that knows exponentially more on the subject than you. These alternative solutions are a lot more common than you may think, and Quizzify’s purpose is to find them for you. Quizzify even has services for employers, too. Not only are people incentivized to improve their health literacy for their physical health, they can protect their wallets too. There are all kinds of loopholes and options when it comes to paying for your healthcare that most people simply don’t know about, because hospitals aren’t incentivized to tell them. Quizzify has an option that walks you through the process of denying the “financial consent” portion of the consent to care form (placed on the forefront of the app, so you can easily access it when you are panicked and confused), which allows you to save hundreds of dollars on emergency treatment.
Employers have an incentive to encourage health literacy as well. By showing less expensive alternatives to treatment, employees can save money in healthcare costs. When establishing a benefit plan with an employer, “Not finishing the health literacy component of it,” in the words of Uhlig “is just a total miss. After all, you can’t implement a solution effectively without also educating members.” Taking a different approach to reach the same goal, Quizzify even offers a service that lets employers calculate a ROI on teaching health literacy. By learning what your options are as a patient, both in terms of treatment and payment, you can minimize unnecessary, oftentimes predatory costs that otherwise would slip right past. Unfortunately, in the U.S. there aren’t many resources for patients, so you must be your own advocate. Fortunately, services like Quizzify are sprouting up, enabling patients to take their health into their own hands.
Quizzify is proud to be featured on The Granite List.