Patients Slow To Use Quality Report Cards on Doctors, Hospitals
Quality report cards and rankings for hospitals and physicians are having a limited influence on consumer behavior as patients remain concerned over the credibility of the findings, which often yield contradictory results, the San Francisco Business Times reports.
Hospitals and doctors are increasingly being rated by public agencies and private companies, but proponents are finding that patients are not turning to the data when deciding where to get care for themselves or family members, according to the Business Times. Aside from credibility concerns and contradictory data, the rankings have been criticized as being confusing and difficult to use, the Business Times reports.
A report last year by the Pacific Business Group on Health noted that quality report cards "are irrelevant to patients unless the information they provide is germane to patients' particular treatment context, coverage situation and personal preferences or values."
Ruth Given, a Long Beach health care economist, argued that the report cards are too general, and patients are more interested in ratings for specific doctors than the overall rating of a hospital. Given added, however, that the report cards "spur hospitals to improve" (Rauber, San Francisco Business Times, 1/18).