This evaluation of the Campaign for Better Care -- an Atlantic-funded effort to include the voices and perspectives of vulnerable populations in health care so that it reflected their needs -- found that although the foundation provided needed organizational support, resources are still limited in carrying out this enormous task. Researchers suggest that a compelling, evidence-based case is needed to convince decision-makers that consumer involvement adds value in developing policy. In addition, tools to increase consumer involvement at the local level need to be tailored to site-specific needs and context.
The evaluation, which Atlantic commissioned from the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies at the University of California- San Francisco, examined the approaches of key grantees -- Community Catalyst, National Partnership for Women and Families and PICO -- and measured their short and intermediate term outcomes and identified lessons learned. Though their specific approaches varied, these three national organizations served as important catalysts within the communities in which they worked, providing advocacy, policy and organizing experience and connecting with local organizations as partners. Despite the challenging nature of this work, incremental steps were made towards greater consumer input in community health care reform efforts.