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On the road to value co-creation in health care: the role of consumers in defining the destination, planning the journey and sharing the drive

Internationally, there has been a growing focus on the governance and performance of health systems and health professionals, and a redefining of the role of the health consumer. Crises relating to increasing aged populations, the increasing burden of chronic and complex disease, the continuing challenges of quality and safety, and escalating health care costs have resulted in pressure to achieve a more productive and sustainable health system that is responsive to the needs and cognisant of the rights of health consumers.1

In Australia, the focus on partnership approaches between researchers, health professionals and the community has been seen as a central part of this transformational change.2 This partnership must extend the role of the consumer beyond engagement and participations and enable a more substantial contribution in all aspects of health system and health service activity — as co-participants and co-creators of health services and health system sustainability.1,3 It is this form of consumer value co-creation that is critical to improving health services, enhancing the quality of care, increasing patient and health care provider satisfaction, and contributing to primary health care reform in Australia.

Consumer involvement in value co-creation