Research behind the Toolkit


The Toolkit is the product of two years of extensive research and testing with employees, employers, unions, and other key stakeholders.

Results of the research

You can read about the results of our research in the following documents:

The research process

The research process included the following steps:

  • Literature and website review

  • The AIR team searched peer-reviewed literature and journals, newspapers, magazines, reports, and websites to learn how key concepts underlying evidence-based health care (including health care quality, medical evidence, guidelines, health care costs, the importance of being engaged consumers) were being communicated to consumers.

  • Interviews with key stakeholders

  • The AIR team conducted interviews with employers, unions, health plans, consumer advocates, and researchers about their efforts to communicate with consumers about evidence-based health care.

  • Focus groups with consumers

  • The AIR team held focus group discussions with union and non-union employees to explore their understanding of and reactions to key concepts in evidence-based health care.

  • Survey of employees

  • With the National Business Group on Health (NBGH), the AIR team conducted a national web survey of employees to ask about beliefs and attitudes related to evidence-based health care, experiences with evidence-based health care, and willingness to engage in certain behaviors.

  • Consumer input and feedback on materials

  • The AIR team conducted interviews with consumers to obtain feedback on draft communication materials and made revisions based on the feedback received.

  • Employer input and feedback on materials

  • The AIR team gathered feedback from employers, unions, and others on key messages and draft communication materials.

  • Field test with collaborative of purchasers

  • A group of six California-based organizations worked with the Toolkit over the course of a year, adapting the materials and distributing them to their employees and members. AIR gathered feedback on their experiences using the Toolkit and used this information to improve the Toolkit materials and user guidance. To learn more about the experiences of the California organizations, read how others have used the materials.