Details on quality of doctors remain elusive for most consumers
NEWTOWN, Conn., Dec. 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- To shed light on the availability of information for consumers on the quality of their doctors, a new scorecard finds the vast majority of states get a failing grade – D or F. Developed by the non-profit Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute (HCI3), the State Report Card on Transparency of Physician Quality Information found that only two states received an A – Minnesota and Washington – and one state, California, got a C.
"We're 15 years out from the Institute of Medicine's trailblazing report calling for the transformation of a 'fundamentally flawed' health care system, and for the most part we still have no idea of the quality of care delivered by the majority of physicians in the U.S.," said Francois de Brantes, HCI3 executive director. "That's not just shameful, but it unnecessarily puts patients at risk. By highlighting states that are making a conscious effort to provide data to consumers, we hope to encourage others to embark on similar efforts."
HCI3 graded the states using scoring criteria that included the percentage of physicians and supporting health care professionals with publicly available quality information; the type of measurement provided (i.e. outcomes, process, patient experience); and the accessibility of the information to consumers.
This state by state scorecard highlights the extent to which there are still huge gaps in data and complements the Report Card on State Price Transparency Laws co-published by HCI3 and Catalyst for Payment Reform earlier this year showing the vast majority of states in the U.S. also get a failing grade in health care price transparency.
Efforts underway, but more state leadership is needed
Two national efforts continue to see progress in making available transparent quality information for consumers and remain the only widespread sources of public information on the quality of clinicians: the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) communities and HCI3's Bridges to Excellence physician measurement and reward program. Bridges to Excellence, which is actively supported by employers in states like Maine, by health plans in states like North Carolina and Texas, and by medical specialty societies such as the American College of Cardiology and the American Gastroenterological Association, has resulted in having tens of thousands of physicians recognized for the quality of their care throughout the United States.
The two states receiving an A have had strong and consistent measuring and reporting programs in place for many years. In Minnesota, statewide transparency initiatives have been ongoing for more than a decade, resulting in 66% of clinicians reporting quality data. In addition, Minnesota HealthScores, an online resource by MN Community Measurement, provides patient-friendly quality reports on area clinics, medical groups and hospitals as well as average cost comparisons for common procedures.
These examples illustrate that concerted efforts by employers, health plans, medical societies, and states can have a significant effect in providing residents of any state with actionable information on the cost and quality of physician care. Other states are considering laws or regulations that can ensure the availability of quality and cost information on hospitals and physicians, and HCI3 has developed model legislation that can serve as a basis for that state action.
New INQUIREhealthcare consumer quality app to help close information gaps
To help consumers find information on the quality of care of clinicians and hospitals in their local area, HCI3 has developed INQUIREhealthcare. This free mobile app is different than other physician finders in that it is based on objective nationally-accepted standards of health care quality, rather than subjective consumer or peer reviews. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Android, INQUIREhealthcare allows consumers to easily find doctors, nurses and hospitals recognized for providing high quality care for conditions such as diabetes, cardiac care, hypertension, heart failure, coronary heart disease, COPD, asthma and digestive health.
While the breadth of data in the app is limited to what is available to the public today in all states, HCI3 will update the app as new data become accessible, including data from Medicare. The app also uses data from The Leapfrog Group's Hospital Safety Score, providing hospital patient safety ratings and showing how well hospitals protect patients from accidents, injuries, harm, and error.
"The American public not only needs usable information about their health care, they have a right to it," said Michael Painter, M.D., senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "In fact, it's completely unacceptable, and arguably immoral, for people not to have that information at their fingertips. Without it people are essentially trying to make smart, informed decisions that impact their health and the health for their families in the dark. That needs to stop and this HCI3 consumer app is an important stride in that direction."
December 10 webinar
On Tues., Dec. 10 from 2:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. Eastern HCI3 will host a webinar to discuss the physician quality scorecard and what can be done to improve transparency of physician quality information across the United States. Register at http://www.hci3.org/content/webinar-physician-quality-registration.
About the Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute, Inc.
The Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute, Inc. (HCI3®) is a non-profit multi-stakeholder umbrella organization for Bridges to Excellence® and PROMETHEUS Payment®. The mission of the organization is to create significant improvements in the quality and affordability of health care by developing and implementing programs that recognize and reward physicians, hospitals and other health care providers that deliver safe, timely, effective, efficient, equitable and patient-centered care. HCI3 offers a comprehensive package of solutions to employers, health plans and coalitions to improve the flawed incentives that currently permeate the U.S. health care system.
Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed expert(s), click appropriate link.
Francois de Brantes http://www.profnetconnect.com/francois_de_brantes
SOURCE Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute (HCI3)