Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Study Shows Patients Are Provided with Insufficient Quality Physician Quality Data

Patients are encouraged to select physicians based on certain quality characteristics; however, a recent study reveals that patients don't have access to the information that should be used in order to make decisions on healthcare providers. This finding can be found in the September 13, 2010 issue of the American Medical Association's Archives of Internal Medicine.

The report states that the profile information given to the public to assist with the selection of a doctor does not strongly correlate with a doctor's ability to provide quality clinical care. For example, malpractice claims were found to be a weak indicator of performance. The study noted that there are three characteristics that are associated with higher performance --"female sex, board certification, and graduation from a domestic medical school;" however, even this data only indicated marginal differences in quality.

The report also notes the need for greater public access to physician quality data, so patients can make well-informed choices regarding their care. As MSPs know, one must search beyond the basic information on a physician's training to reveal the true level of quality that the physician can provide.

To view the report's abstract, click here (payment required for access to the full article): http://archinte.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/170/16/1442?view=short&fp=1442&vol=170&lookupType=volpage

Source: Archives of Internal Medicine

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