Supported by a grant from the New York State Health Foundation
Measurement sets and public reporting have become integral to health care reform efforts, yet too often they don’t provide the quality information consumers need or want when faced with decisions about where to seek care. Most current measures focus on the technical and clinical aspects of health care quality, while aspects that the public finds meaningful, such as patients’ experiences with care and the clinician-patient relationship, have received far less attention.
Why This Is Important
Choosing health care providers based on quality could become more critical as the market power of health systems grows in New York and health plans narrow provider networks. But most consumers are not sufficiently aware that health care quality varies, and websites scattered across the Internet often lack the types of quality information about providers that would facilitate good decision-making. Not surprisingly, most consumers don’t review performance results on quality measures to help guide their choice of providers.
Supported by a grant from the New York State Health Foundation, UHF’s Quality Institute conducted a 15-month examination of publicly available quality measures, the quality information consumers and patients prefer for decision-making, and barriers to finding that information. Our scan of over 70 websites and 462 quality measures found relatively few that were current or able to address common circumstances that lead consumers to seek quality information. Consumers with limited English proficiency, literacy, or numeracy skills, or who otherwise need a greater degree of assistance, are especially challenged when it comes to finding and interpreting quality information scattered across various websites.
The Bottom Line
For quality measures to be meaningful to consumers, they must be relevant to decisions that need to be made, enable performance comparisons at the right level of detail, and take into account varying consumer needs and preferences. Websites that provide quality information must be easy to navigate, and the content on them must be accurate, timely, customizable, and easy to understand.
Products from UHF’s effort include a catalog of publicly available quality measures, a Health Affairs Blog piece, and a report that synthesizes research on quality measurement and reporting and interviews with experts. The report, Empowering New Yorkers with Quality Measures That Matter to Them, identifies opportunities and strategies for advancing awareness and access to relevant, valid, and reliable performance data that can help New Yorkers identify providers who can best meet their health needs.
Contact: Lynn Rogut, Pooja Kothari