Health Care Service Quality Ratings Have Small Impact on Consumer Decisions, Survey Finds
Most consumers who view health care service quality ratings do not consider the information in decisions about hospitals, health plans or physicians, according to a new survey conducted by Harris Interactive, the Wall Street Journal reports. In the survey, scheduled for release today, researchers interviewed 1,013 adults nationwide. The survey found:
- More than 25% of those surveyed had viewed hospital quality ratings, and only 3% of that group considered the information in decisions about which hospitals to use.
- 22% of those surveyed had viewed health plan quality ratings, and only 3% of that group considered a switch in health plans based on the information.
- 10% of those surveyed had viewed physician quality ratings, and only 1% of that group considered the information in decisions about which doctors to visit.
Analysts attributed the results in part to managed care, which allows consumers limited control over provider selection. Health plans often limit consumers to "preselected" hospitals and physicians, Bob Seehausen, senior vice president for business development and sales at Novant Health, said. Although supporters of health care service quality ratings expressed "disappointment" over the results of the survey, they maintained that ratings offer "important tools" for employers and health insurers when they select health plans and providers, the Journal reports. Alan Sager, director of health reform at Boston University School of Public Health, added that "unfavorable" ratings may prompt hospitals and health plans to improve the quality of their services (Wall Street Journal, 10/11). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.