Health care systems across the globe have undergone a process of rapid change in the past few decades. On the one hand, there have been substantial changes to practice, partly due to advancing technology, new treatment approaches, shifts in models of care, the emergence of new occupations and changing scopes of practice. Adding to this has been an increase in health care demand and cost, driven by an ageing population, greater disease chronicity and severity, increased complexity of care, and limited health care resources. Whether these changes have kept pace with the needs of the health consumer remains uncertain.
In order to understand the needs of health consumers, it is important to first explore what health services consumers are accessing and why. It is also important to uncover from the consumer's perspective, their experiences and expectations of these health services, and any factors that may prevent them from accessing such services. This information will be valuable in determining what the health care needs of health consumers are, which will in turn help us to determine how responsive health systems are to consumer needs, and to identify areas where health systems could possibly improve to better serve these needs.
The CONVERSATIONS project, which stands for 'Consumer Expectations & Experiences of the Health Care System – An International Study', is a large international project. The aim of the project is to explore the needs of health consumers in different regions, and to see whether these needs differ between regions. This will allow us to uncover which, if any, of these health systems best meet the health care needs of consumers, and how health systems might possibly learn from this.
The project seeks to understand the needs of health consumers through the use of an online survey. The survey takes approximately 20 minutes to complete, is easy to fill-out, and can be completed anytime and anywhere. These are important qualities as we do not want the study to be an inconvenience to health consumers. Further information about how you can participate in this project can be found by clicking on the 'Getting involved' button above.