VHA Study Indicates That Consumers Are Ready to Seek Out Clinical Quality Leaders

Study Reinforces Institute of Medicine Emphasis on Clinical Improvement



Mar 01, 2001, 00:00 ET from VHA Inc.

    IRVING, Texas, March 1 /PRNewswire/ -- VHA Inc. has published a research
 paper on consumers' attitudes about the quality of health care in America.
 The VHA study showed that consumers would like more information about the
 scientifically based treatment protocols hospitals and doctors should be
 following and that they would use information about protocol compliance rates
 to help them select providers.  Earlier industry studies hinted that consumers
 are only able to evaluate health care from a customer service perspective.
 The VHA study, in contrast, found that consumers believe information about
 clinical quality performance is a more important factor in their decision
 making than whether a doctor or hospital is in their insurance network, and
 that they would consider abandoning a provider they had a positive experience
 with if objective reports showed poor clinical quality performance.
     The study, titled Consumer Demand for Clinical Quality: The Giant Awakens,
 examines the experiences of more than 500 individuals who have experienced the
 health care system, either directly or indirectly with close relatives.  The
 study participants were asked a battery of questions related to the quality of
 the clinical care and how they choose providers.  To see a copy of the 47-page
 study, go to VHA's News Room, http://www.vha.com/NEWS/default.shtml.
     Based on the study, VHA has come to the following conclusions:
 
     -- Consumers are seeking credible and meaningful clinical health care
        information and feel it is important to be actively involved in their
        care or the care of their family members.
 
     -- Clinical quality issues are central to consumers' definitions of
        health care quality and are more important selection drivers than
        service issues.
 
     -- Clearly presented concepts of evidence-based medicine and system-based
        measures for patient safety are readily understood and embraced by
        consumers, especially baby boomers, as information that would
        influence their choice of provider.
 
     -- Consumers see hospitals simply as bricks and mortar, performing a
        minor role in assuring clinical quality within the organization, but
        they believe hospitals, as functional organizations, should be playing
        a more active role.  Consumers believe physicians are the key drivers
        of clinical quality in a health care organization.
 
     "This study says consumers want clinical information.  The study also
 indicates that hospitals that want to be successful need to demonstrate
 leadership in advancing clinical quality within their organizations.  Then
 they need to communicate their efforts to the public," said Ken Smithson,
 M.D., vice president of clinical affairs at VHA.  "The next step for VHA is to
 develop the methods health care organizations can use to educate the public
 about what constitutes clinical quality.  Secondarily, we need to develop the
 methods hospitals can use to appropriately share their performance with the
 public.  Putting that communications effort into action can be pretty tricky,
 though.  Consumers are turned off by claims of clinical superiority unless it
 is tied to things they can relate to.  The next phase of VHA's research will
 be working with selected health care organizations to discover how to
 communicate this clinical quality message in the real world."
 
     About VHA
     VHA Inc. is a nationwide network of more than 2,100 leading community-
 owned health care organizations and their affiliated physicians.  The VHA
 alliance comprises 27 percent of the nation's community hospitals, including
 many of the nation's largest and most respected institutions.  VHA offers
 programs and services to improve financial and clinical performance, and as a
 cooperative distributes income annually to members based on their
 participation.  In December 2000, VHA was named one of the "100 Best Companies
 to Work For" for the second consecutive year by Fortune.
 
      Contact:
      Lynn Gentry
      972/830-0798
      lgentry@vha.com
 
 

SOURCE VHA Inc.
    IRVING, Texas, March 1 /PRNewswire/ -- VHA Inc. has published a research
 paper on consumers' attitudes about the quality of health care in America.
 The VHA study showed that consumers would like more information about the
 scientifically based treatment protocols hospitals and doctors should be
 following and that they would use information about protocol compliance rates
 to help them select providers.  Earlier industry studies hinted that consumers
 are only able to evaluate health care from a customer service perspective.
 The VHA study, in contrast, found that consumers believe information about
 clinical quality performance is a more important factor in their decision
 making than whether a doctor or hospital is in their insurance network, and
 that they would consider abandoning a provider they had a positive experience
 with if objective reports showed poor clinical quality performance.
     The study, titled Consumer Demand for Clinical Quality: The Giant Awakens,
 examines the experiences of more than 500 individuals who have experienced the
 health care system, either directly or indirectly with close relatives.  The
 study participants were asked a battery of questions related to the quality of
 the clinical care and how they choose providers.  To see a copy of the 47-page
 study, go to VHA's News Room, http://www.vha.com/NEWS/default.shtml.
     Based on the study, VHA has come to the following conclusions:
 
     -- Consumers are seeking credible and meaningful clinical health care
        information and feel it is important to be actively involved in their
        care or the care of their family members.
 
     -- Clinical quality issues are central to consumers' definitions of
        health care quality and are more important selection drivers than
        service issues.
 
     -- Clearly presented concepts of evidence-based medicine and system-based
        measures for patient safety are readily understood and embraced by
        consumers, especially baby boomers, as information that would
        influence their choice of provider.
 
     -- Consumers see hospitals simply as bricks and mortar, performing a
        minor role in assuring clinical quality within the organization, but
        they believe hospitals, as functional organizations, should be playing
        a more active role.  Consumers believe physicians are the key drivers
        of clinical quality in a health care organization.
 
     "This study says consumers want clinical information.  The study also
 indicates that hospitals that want to be successful need to demonstrate
 leadership in advancing clinical quality within their organizations.  Then
 they need to communicate their efforts to the public," said Ken Smithson,
 M.D., vice president of clinical affairs at VHA.  "The next step for VHA is to
 develop the methods health care organizations can use to educate the public
 about what constitutes clinical quality.  Secondarily, we need to develop the
 methods hospitals can use to appropriately share their performance with the
 public.  Putting that communications effort into action can be pretty tricky,
 though.  Consumers are turned off by claims of clinical superiority unless it
 is tied to things they can relate to.  The next phase of VHA's research will
 be working with selected health care organizations to discover how to
 communicate this clinical quality message in the real world."
 
     About VHA
     VHA Inc. is a nationwide network of more than 2,100 leading community-
 owned health care organizations and their affiliated physicians.  The VHA
 alliance comprises 27 percent of the nation's community hospitals, including
 many of the nation's largest and most respected institutions.  VHA offers
 programs and services to improve financial and clinical performance, and as a
 cooperative distributes income annually to members based on their
 participation.  In December 2000, VHA was named one of the "100 Best Companies
 to Work For" for the second consecutive year by Fortune.
 
      Contact:
      Lynn Gentry
      972/830-0798
      lgentry@vha.com
 
 SOURCE  VHA Inc.