The Short-Term Effect of Patient Health Status Assessment in a Health Maintenance Organization
Published in: Quality of Life Research, v. 1, no. 2, Apr. 1992, p. 99-106
This study was designed to test the short-term effects of health assessment on the process of care and patient satisfaction. The 29 Chart physicians used the Dartmouth COOP Charts to measure their adult patients' health status during a single clinical encounter; the 27 control clinicians used no measure of health status. The authors compared the change between baseline and post-intervention information for a sample of all study clinicians' patients. Most of the patients were female (67%), well educated (70% had at least a college education) and young (approximately 90% were aged 59 years or younger). The authors found that the ordering of tests and procedures for women was increased by exposure to the COOP Charts (52% vs. 35%; p < 0.01); the effect in men was not as significant (37% vs. 23%: p = 0.06). Although women reported no change in satisfaction with care, men claimed that the clinician helped in the management of pain (p = 0.02). We conclude that the use of health status measures during a single clinical encounter in an HMO changes clinician test ordering behaviour and may improve the help male patients receive for pain conditions. The long-term impact of these management changes is not known..