​We have all sat in a medical office at some point listening to our doctor give us a diagnosis and then telling us how to proceed. Because doctors dedicate such a large portion of their adult life to their medical education, we often blindly follow their advice without discussing the options. But that is all changing as the realities of an unsustainable health care system set in and monumental changes abound. This month's cover story in Hospitals & Health Networks is about why shared decision making is a model to help the health care industry transition into a system that rewards value and quality of care. While the article focuses on involving the patient in decision making about their medical treatment, the underlying theme of both shared decision making and value based care is consumer education. How can a patient appropriately and accurately participate in a conversation with their doctor about their care options without truly understanding the system? And how can physicians who have dedicated their lives to medicine trust a patient to make an informed medical decision? It all comes back to education – teaching patients how health care works, what it costs, what questions to ask their doctors and giving them the confidence to be a part of the decision making process. And teaching providers to listen to their patients, identify their health goals, and move beyond the clinical diagnosis is key to truly making the patient part of the experience. To make value based care work, physicians and patients need to change the way they interact. There is more to this transition than new models of care. To make value based care work, we need to make cultural changes so that patients are encouraged to be part of their care. The Informed Medical Decisions Foundation encourages the use of “decision aids” which help patients learn about their diagnosis and the possible treatments. The National Institute of Health has joined the movement by empowering patients to speak up in the doctor's office and provides tips about how to talk to your doctor. While the industry understands the need to involve consumers in health care and educate them to make more informed decisions, it is not happening in reality. A recent Kaiser Health News tracking poll found that 42 percent of Americans are unsure if Obamacare is even still a law and who can blame them with the House of Representatives voting for the 37th time to repeal it. But for a value based system to work, consumers have to be engaged. And for consumer to be engaged, they have to understand how health care works. by Alicia Bandy, SM& Senior Account Executive