Consumer 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 calqualitycare.org 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
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 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."
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
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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.