Report suggests ways to improve health-care provider 'report cards'

March 5, 2012

As health care reform expands the use of "report cards" to grade health care providers, greater attention to reporting methods may be needed to assure the quality of such efforts, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

"Public reports about the quality, efficiency and patient-centeredness of providers can do much to improve the nation's ," said Dr. Mark W. Friedberg, the study's lead author and researcher at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. "But if the performance reports are poorly constructed, they could needlessly disrupt existing clinical relationships and drive patients to inferior providers."

Writing in the March edition of the journal Health Affairs, Friedberg and colleague Cheryl L. Damberg outline a checklist to improve the methods behind health care performance reporting. The RAND Health checklist is intended to minimize the frequency and severity of misclassifying provider performance, and to avoid adverse and unintended consequences of reporting.

"Methods used to compare health care providers should be robust and transparent so that we can improve confidence in the accuracy of the reports," said Damberg, a RAND senior policy researcher. "Both health care providers and patients can benefit from such improvements."

Public reports about the performance of on quality, cost, and outcomes have become increasingly common. Since 2004, Medicare's Hospital Compare website has posted public reports about the performance of most U.S. hospitals on a wide variety of measures. The Act of 2010 requires that another website be established by 2013 to report physician performance.

RAND researchers outline methods that can help government agencies and other groups create accurate and useful health care performance reports. The work builds on the pioneering efforts of RAND Health and other researchers in the area of .

Researchers say that when health care report cards are given to the public, there should be a mechanism in place to see whether the tools help achieve their intended goals, such as helping patients choose better-quality providers.

"We hope this work opens a wider discussion about how to improve the creation and dissemination of health care performance reports," Friedberg said. "While there are challenges to doing this work, we think report makers can overcome them if they have the right resources and expertise."

Explore further: Bundling payments to cut health costs proves difficult to achieve, study finds

Related Stories

Bundling payments to cut health costs proves difficult to achieve, study finds

November 7, 2011
While there is considerable interest in bundling payments to health care providers to encourage them to cut costs, putting the strategy into practice is proving to be more difficult than anticipated.

Recommended for you

Could insufficient sleep be adding centimeters to your waistline?

July 27, 2017
Adults in the UK who have poor sleep patterns are more likely to be overweight and obese and have poorer metabolic health, according to a new study.

Sugar not so sweet for mental health

July 27, 2017
Sugar may be bad not only for your teeth and your waistline, but also your mental health, claimed a study Thursday that was met with scepticism by other experts.

Vitamin E-deficient embryos are cognitively impaired even after diet improves

July 27, 2017
Zebrafish deficient in vitamin E produce offspring beset by behavioral impairment and metabolic problems, new research at Oregon State University shows.

The role of dosage in assessing risk of hormone therapy for menopause

July 27, 2017
When it comes to assessing the risk of estrogen therapy for menopause, how the therapy is delivered—taking a pill versus wearing a patch on one's skin—doesn't affect risk or benefit, researchers at UCLA and elsewhere ...

Blowing smoke? E-cigarettes might help smokers quit

July 26, 2017
People who used e-cigarettes were more likely to kick the habit than those who didn't, a new study found.

Brain disease seen in most football players in large report

July 25, 2017
Research on 202 former football players found evidence of a brain disease linked to repeated head blows in nearly all of them, from athletes in the National Football League, college and even high school.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.