"The two words ‘information’ and ‘communication’ are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through." -- Sydney J. Harris

Doctor Performance Gets a Checkup

June 23, 2014
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) collaborates with Consumer Reports to help consumers make informed health care choices

Are you receiving quality care? How would you know? With a grant from RWJF and in collaboration with AF4Q communities, Consumer Reports published information comparing the quality of doctors in three states.

Patients generally don’t practice medicine, so it can be hard for them to know just what constitutes high-quality care. In the absence of easy to understand, objective information, health care consumers might never know how well their physicians measure up.

Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) alliances have been leaders in measuring and publicly reporting the performance of physician practices. The challenge has been ensuring that patients have access to and use this data to make better care decisions.

This case study highlights how three AF4Q communities—Greater Boston, Minnesota, and Wisconsin—partnered with Consumers Union to publish special inserts in its magazine, Consumer Reports, to provide consumers with access to performance data for local medical practices.

These reports help physicians and hospitals identify areas for improvement; guide consumers’ decisions in choosing high-quality providers; and offer employers and insurers objective information on the quality of care being delivered.

Ratings on nearly 500 adult and child primary care practices based on patient experience.

Ratings on 552 medical practices based on their success at helping patients achieve key targets in managing cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Ratings on 19 medical groups (when combined, these serve nearly half of the state’s patients) based on their success at providing patients with any of seven medical services.

Read the full report here.