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Info from the Front Lines

In this video originally broadcast via Periscope, Craig explains a new website that was developed with the advice of people “from the front lines.” The website is about healthcare and the leaders who made it asked health care consumers how to make it good.

Over eighteen months Craig facilitated the Consumer Advisory Group of the Maine Health Data Organization and the resulting website is very impressive. Visit to see how good a product can be with info from the front lines!

Here’s what Craig says in the video

What I want to talk about is a website. And then I’m going to tell you how this website was created and in particular how the leaders got information from the front lines to make it a really good website.

Okay let’s try some camera trickery here. Here’s the website that I want to tell you about. It’s called CompareMaine and this website provides information about healthcare costs here in Maine for different procedures. It’s pretty cool. It is a breakthrough both nationally and here in the state of Maine for providing information direct to consumers on what they can expect before they receive care.

Now I was involved in this website because I facilitated something called the Consumer Advisory Group. When the leaders of the organization that developed this website, when they decided to develop it, very early on in the process they establish something called a Consumer Advisory Group. These were people who….some of them had mental illness, or mental disabilities, physical disabilities… they had experience with the healthcare system. So here we have the leaders, before they put out the website, asking consumers: What do you think a website should look like?

There was one instance where the Board of Directors, a higher-level board of directors, made a decision about how the data would be presented. And that decision was conveyed to the Consumer Advisory Group and the Consumer Advisory Group said, “No! That’s confusing, that won’t work.” And they had a different idea about how the data should be presented. And at their next board meeting, the Board changed their mind. And they listened to the Consumer Advisory Group.

And I got to tell you, as a result of this process, what we have is a terrific, user-friendly website that was actually informed by the people most likely to use it.

Because these consumers were engaged they are champions for this website. They are a constituency of people ready to promote and argue in favor of this website.

If you make decisions without asking those who are most affected by the decision, it is much more likely to be a bad decision. It is likely to be a short-lived decision. Somebody, in fact maybe even a large group of people, is going to be out there trying to overturn the decision. But if you make decisions with information from the front lines it is much more likely to be a good group decision.

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