Consumer Response to Patient Experience Measures in Complex Information Environments

Published in: Medical Care, v. 50, no. 11, suppl. 3, Nov. 2012, p. S56-S64

Posted on RAND.org on October 30, 2012

by Mark Schlesinger, David E. Kanouse, Lise Rybowski, Steven C. Martino, Dale Shaller

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BACKGROUND: As indicators of clinician quality proliferate, public reports increasingly include multiple metrics. This approach provides more complete performance information than did earlier reports but may challenge consumers' ability to understand and use complicated reports. OBJECTIVES: To assess the effects of report complexity on consumers' understanding and use of patient experience measures derived from the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS®) survey. RESEARCH DESIGN: In an Internet-based experiment, participants were asked to compare information on physician quality and choose a primary care doctor. Participants were randomly assigned to choice sets of varied complexity (CAHPS alone vs. CAHPS with other measures) and number of doctors. Participants completed surveys before and after this choice task. SUBJECTS: A total of 555 US residents, aged 25–64, who had Internet access through computer were recruited from an existing online panel. MEASURES: Recall seeing CAHPS measures; use of CAHPS measures for making choices; ratings of ease of use, usefulness and trustworthiness of CAHPS ratings; concerns about usefulness and trustworthiness. RESULTS: Participants presented with CAHPS information and other performance indicators relied less on CAHPS than did those presented with CAHPS information only, although they considered CAHPS information as valuable as did other respondents. Participants presented with smaller choice sets also judged CAHPS information as less easy to use when accompanied by other metrics than when it was presented alone.

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