Consumers Sorely Lacking Information on the Quality of Their Doctors According to Latest HCI3 Research

Submitted by hci3-usr on Monday, December 15, 2014 - 10:36

State by state report finds improvements, but only two states receive an A grade

NEWTOWN, CT – DECEMBER 16, 2014 – With consumers bearing an ever-greater share of the costs for health care, it’s essential that they have the ability to make informed decisions about which doctors to see. However, the information that can help guide those decisions is difficult, if not impossible, to find. In fact, independent and objective public quality data are only available for 16% of physicians in the U.S., and in some states there are no data available. These are among the findings released today in the second annual State Report Card on Transparency of Physician Quality Information report from the non-profit Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute (HCI3).

For the second year in a row only two states received an A – Minnesota and Washington. Maine and California each received a B; a C was given to Massachusetts and Wisconsin; and Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio and Oregon received a D. All remaining states and the District of Columbia got a failing grade.

“Consumers are flying blind when it comes to selecting hospitals and physicians, and the overall quality and affordability of American health care won’t be improved until we find a way to solve this problem,” said Francois de Brantes, HCI3 executive director. “While the 2014 report shows an improvement in grades in a few states, overall the lack of information to make informed choices is disappointing.”

The full report and corresponding map infographic can be accessed here.

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.

Similar to the 2013 report, HCI3 leveraged the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s national directory for comparing health care quality. The directory lists public web-based resources and programs available in each state and is designed to help patients find information on the cost and quality of health care provided in their communities.

Worth noting is that all of the states receiving passing grades are states in which Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) programs are present, whether at a regional or statewide level. AF4Q efforts, along with HCI3’s Bridges to Excellence Clinician Recognition program, remain one of the only widespread sources of public and objective quality information on physicians. Programs such as these prove that producing this public information on local clinicians for consumer use is both achievable and sustainable.

“The goal of this report is to not only highlight efforts that are doing well, but also to grab the attention of lawmakers in states lacking this vital information for their residents,” said de Brantes. “If your state isn’t receiving an A or B, it can and should.

About Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute™, Inc.
The Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute, Inc. (HCI3) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality and affordability of health care through evidence-based incentive and payment reform programs. It is the umbrella organization for Bridges to Excellence® and PROMETHEUS Payment®, as well the creator of Evidence-informed Case Rates (ECRs) (episode of care definitions) and ECR Analytics®. With these programs, HCI3 offers a comprehensive package of solutions for employers, health plans and providers to implement innovative solutions that can cure the incentives problems that plague the U.S. health care system.

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