Wednesday, July 22, 2009

From RWJF: Exploring Health Care Quality Transparency Initiatives

Commentary and Issue Brief Highlight Keys to Success in Quality Transparency Programs

In recent years, significant energy has been spent to develop health care quality information resources that help consumers make informed decisions about their care, including the development of products such as hospital and physician report cards. Yet despite clear evidence that quality can vary significantly between providers, most Americans still rely on information from friends, family and physicians when choosing them.

Two new publications from the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC) and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation explore the potential for health care quality transparency initiatives and the impact of those already underway.

In the commentary “Health Care Quality Transparency: If You Build It, Will Patients Come?” HSC President Paul B. Ginsburg, Ph.D., and Nicole M. Kemper, M.P.H., an HSC health research analyst, conclude that until consumers become more aware and concerned about differences in hospital and physician quality, the main purpose of quality reporting will be to motivate providers to improve their performance.

In a separate issue brief, "Designing Effective Health Care Quality Transparency Initiatives," HSC Senior Researcher Ha T. Tu, M.P.A., and HSC Health Research Analyst Johanna R. Lauer highlight two quality “report card” transparency initiatives for hospitals and primary care physicians that can be considered success stories in both design and implementation. The authors identify common features of both programs that other programs may be able to draw from and replicate.

(c) Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

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