Empowering New Yorkers with Quality Information They Value

Measurement sets and public reporting have become integral to health care reform efforts, yet often don’t provide the information consumers need to make informed choices about health care providers. Supported by a grant from the New York State Health Foundation, UHF’s Quality Institute is tackling this key problem by examining the information consumers and patients value for decision making, the obstacles to finding that information, and the chasm between what exists and what consumers want to know.

Project activities include interviews with experts, a review of the literature on this topic, and cataloging the content of current Web-based information resources. For selected contexts and conditions that drive consumers to seek a health care provider—the need for non-emergency surgery, for example, or a diagnosis of serious illness—we will conduct simulations of internet searches to better understand the difficulties consumers face when seeking information about physicians and the quality of care they provide. And we will consider options to support patients and consumers—including those with low literacy or numeracy skills or who otherwise need a greater degree of assistance—with clear comparative information they can understand and use.

Key Questions
Over the course of this project we’ll focus on a number of critical issues:

  • What types of information do consumers value most?
  • Which sources of comparative information do consumers find trustworthy—or not? How can we expand awareness of useful information from sources that consumers can and should trust?
  • Can clinical performance measures be integrated with other types of information important to consumers, such as physician credentials, malpractice actions, and patient-reported ratings and reviews?
  • How can trained intermediaries help consumers find and interpret information relevant to their specific needs?
  • How might publicly available comparative quality information be used to demonstrate the variation in care quality among providers and help empower New York’s consumers to choose wisely? 

Looking Ahead
“Empowering New Yorkers with Quality Information They Value” will be completed in the fall of 2017. Products will include a catalog of publicly available, quality-relevant, trustworthy information that New Yorkers can use to help choose a health care provider; a strategy for advancing awareness of and broad access to that information; and a blueprint for bridging the gaps between currently available information and the information that consumers are seeking to support their decisions about choice of providers.