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Dr. John SantaConsumer Reports and Partners Rate California Physician Groups

In early January, Consumer Reports, the California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF), and the California Healthcare Performance Information System (CHPI) released ratings of 170 California physician groups focused on the experience of 58,873 California adults. The ratings showed significant differences
in the performance of groups across the state and in multiple regions of the state. We published the ratings in a 12-page insert in the February Consumer Reports magazine. CHCF published the ratings at its website, using the same analytic approach used in the insert and CR ratings symbols. A pdf of the insert is available to the public for download at ConsumerHealthChoices . California organizations are encouraged to distribute to their
members or employees

California consumers were provided with an overall care rating and ratings of communication, timeliness, access and helpfulness of office staff for almost all groups. The data was collected through the annual Patient Assessment Survey (PAS), which is administered by CHPI. Participating medical groups provide care to more than 90% of commercially insured HMO patients in California. The survey is based on questions developed by the US Department of Health and Human Services.

While the data has been published several times in the past, Consumer Reports felt it was time for a larger portion of the California public to see it. Initial reaction from the media, the public and physician groups suggest that our goal was accomplished. Further analysis of the impact is underway. Your reactions and comments are welcomed.

This release also gave the three partners an opportunity to work together to pilot a short patient experience survey that "rated" individual California doctors. The survey was presented to CR subscribers via a series of email alerts. Anyone visiting the CHCF site was asked to complete the survey. Initial reaction to the survey was positive; giving all the organizations involved an opportunity to assess the usefulness of this approach.

This is the fourth in a series of innovative releases Consumer Reports has done focused on statewide physician ratings. Our hope is to continue to apply the lessons we are learning in this important area of consumer interest.


John Santa, M.D

Director, Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center   

January 2014 Newsletter 
In this issue:
What's New
Partner Spotlight
Campaign Updates
Support Our Work
In the News
Quick Links

What's New
New Grant Funded Work 


Our team is working on a grant project funded by the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation

The goal of this project is to quantify patient and family member expectations and perspectives 

of care received in hospitals and ICUs. This includes measuring preferences for and experiences 

of interacting with clinicians around issues including:  preventable harm; being treated with

dignity and respect; and the need for other improvements in the delivery of care. Analysis of 

these data will be by key respondent factors such as: regional variation, demographic variables, health status, and previous experience with the health-care system.


We will be conducting focus groups in Baltimore, Indianapolis, Phoenix, and San Francisco. 

The results from these groups will be used to create a national survey of patients and family members.  


Results from this research will foster a better understanding of consumers' interests in and 

ability to actively participate in:

  • communicating with physicians including decision making by asking informed questions,
  • fully appreciating patient safety risks,
  • self-care activities while in the hospital,
  • understanding preventable harms and their mitigation,
  • articulating the need for changes in the health-care system that improve quality, 
  • safety, and cost, while
  • voicing their expectations of courteous, respectful, and dignified treatment. 

The findings will be published in an article in Consumer Reports in September 2014.



Partner Spotlight 

Partner Promotes Choosing Wisely 


We are pleased this month to highlight the exciting and innovative work that the 
Anne Arundel Medical Center, Maryland's third busiest hospital, is doing to promote 
the Choosing Wisely campaign. It has recently launched an integrated campaign 
to encourage dialogue around Choosing Wisely. Promotional efforts have included 
articles in its community magazine, editorials in local newspapers, and digital displays 
in campus facilities. 

Several physician practices now have posters in each exam room with the five key points. 
The electronic medical record allows physicians and staff to click on a Choosing Wisely 
topic and print the article on demand. 

The physician champion of the initiative, Barry Meisenberg, MD, has addressed both 
internal and external groups to bring awareness to clinical teams as well as community 
members. He will also be a featured speaker on the subject during a docsTALK sponsored 
by AAMC in March called "Better Together."

Campaign Updates
Planning for 2014 


As we begin planning for 2014, we are open to new opportunities to distribute our 
information, through new networks or events.  If you or your colleagues are interested 
in working with us, to either distribute our materials, work with us to develop dissemination 
options through your network or speak at an upcoming engagement, please contact 
Dom Lorusso, Health Impact Partnerships at

Support Our Work

Consumer Education and Outreach 


As you know, Consumer Reports is the only major independent consumer organization 
working for transparency in medical costs, effectiveness, and safety. And because we're 
free of any commercial influence, we always call it like we see it - never pulling any punches.

Last year, our work on health care helped consumers identify and choose high-quality, 
appropriate, cost-effective preventative care, screening/testing, medicines, treatments, 
hospitals, and health insurance. We create hundreds of patient-friendly resources 
addressing medical costs, effectiveness, and safety. But there is much more work to 
be done and we can't do it without your help.

Knowing that you're a fan of Consumer Reports Health, we'd like to invite you to make 
a charitable contribution. Your contribution will help us remain a leading voice in championing consumers' access to sustainable, safe, high-quality, and affordable health care and physical, mental, and community well being. We hope you'll find it's a cause worthy of your support.

Please consider a contribution to Consumer Reports' health-care initiative. 
You can easily donate online today or email us at if 
you have questions. 


In the News

Recent Coverage of Our Work   


AARP blog: Cancer Still Top Killer, but Death Rate is Dropping. John Santa, MD, the medical director at Consumer Reports, was quoted in the article, tying in the Choosing Wisely campaign. 

You can read the short blog here.


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