Stethoscope and dollar Employees can learn how to become true medical consumers, and there are some relatively easy steps we can take to help them. (Photo: Shutterstock)

In this new age of medical consumerism, individuals and families are tasked with navigating the rough and unfamiliar waters of a fragmented health care system. Gone are the days of just going to any physician, following whichever treatment plan he or she prescribes, and paying whatever it cost to do so, no questions asked.

Today, not only are providers and payers sharing in the risk of providing high-quality care at a reduced cost, patients are now charged with better understanding such things as physician quality, centers of excellence, treatment decisions, and high-deductible health plans.

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