New ad campaign urges patients to consider medical treatment options

Research Activities, August 2011, No. 372

"Explore Your Treatment Options," a new multimedia ad campaign initiated by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the Ad Council, encourages patients to become more informed about their options before choosing a treatment for a health condition or illness.

The goal of this campaign is to increase consumers' involvement in their care by providing easy access to unbiased information about treatment options and tools to encourage patients to work with their doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other clinicians to make health care decisions. It features television, radio, print, Web, and outdoor ads that encourage consumers to visit AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program Web site to find plain-language guides that summarize the scientific evidence on treatments for numerous medical conditions, including diabetes, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and more.

"We see the best outcomes when doctors and patients work together to come up with a treatment plan that takes into account the patient's quality-of-life concerns," said AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D. "Information is power in health care, and this campaign will provide patients with the information they need to become partners with their doctors in their health and health care."

Since 2005, AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program has compared the outcomes and - effectiveness - of different treatments and communicated findings to providers and consumers to help them make informed decisions about health care. For example, Treating High Cholesterol: A Guide for Adults, provides easy-to-understand information about different kinds of cholesterol medicines, including how they work and their side effects. The guide also includes a list of questions that patients can ask their doctors to help them choose their best treatment option.

As part of the campaign, AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program Web site features personal stories from patients with chronic conditions who achieved better health results by exploring their treatment options. In addition, a new Health Priorities Snapshot tool features questions about common daily activities and allows users to rate the importance of quality-of-life concerns. Patients can print out a list of their own health priorities and share it with their clinicians during medical appointments. These features are available at

Created pro bono for the Ad Council by Grey New York, the new television, radio, print, outdoor, and Web ads highlight the fact that consumers have options when buying clothing, dining out, watching a movie, or buying a car and should expect options when it comes to their health care.

"This new campaign is a wonderful extension of our ongoing efforts with AHRQ to encourage Americans to take a more active role in their health care," said Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council. "These ads speak to a compelling insight—we look for options in nearly every aspect of our lives, but we're not always exploring all treatment options available when it comes to our health care. It's a very important message, as these decisions can affect the length and quality of our lives."

The new public service advertisements (PSAs) are being distributed to approximately 33,000 media stations nationwide. Per the Ad Council's donated media model, all of the new PSAs will air and run in advertising time and space donated by the media.

Current as of August 2011
Internet Citation: New ad campaign urges patients to consider medical treatment options: Research Activities, August 2011, No. 372. August 2011. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.