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Home arrow Market Research Findings arrow Healthcare arrow Public Interest in the Use of Quality Metrics in Healthcare Is Mixed
Public Interest in the Use of Quality Metrics in Healthcare Is Mixed PDF Print E-mail
Written by Harris Interactive   
23 May 2005
Public Interest in the Use of Quality Metrics in Healthcare Is Mixed — Unless It Allows Them to Reduce Their Health Insurance Costs

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – May 24, 2005 – A new survey shows that the U.S. public is only modestly supportive of having health plans pay more to doctors if they have been shown to provide higher quality care to their patients. However, a sizable majority is interested in this type of plan if it helps to lower their health insurance coverage costs. The question remains: how should health plans measure quality? On the whole, the public is somewhat supportive of measures that are associated with prevention and promoting patient compliance while they are less supportive of plans that measure quality based on particular technology metrics.

These are some of the results of a Harris Interactive? online survey of 2,129 U.S. adults conducted between May 11 and 13, 2005 for The Wall Street Journal Online’s Health Industry Edition.

Support for pay-for-performance system

Nearly two in five (38%) adults strongly or somewhat support having health insurance plans pay more to doctors if they have been shown to provide higher quality care to their patients. A further 17 percent oppose a pay-for-performance system and a third (32%) is indifferent, neither favoring nor opposing one. Interestingly, the more educated adults are, the more likely they are to favor a pay-for-performance system.

Public support for a pay-for-performance system increases dramatically if it helps to lower their costs. Two-thirds (67%) of adults are interested in a health insurance plan that provides access to fewer doctors, but certifies that those doctors provide higher quality care to their patients and charges consumers lower premium, deductible and co-payment charges.

Support for possible quality metrics

The public seems to be supportive of certain metrics more than others that health insurance plans might use to judge the quality of care doctors provide to their patients. Metrics supported by more of the public include:

  • Whether the doctor uses preventive tests like cancer screening and blood tests for high cholesterol (64%)
  • Patient satisfaction surveys (57%)
  • Whether the doctor uses reminder systems to prompt patients to get needed follow-up care (50%)
  • Whether the doctor uses standardized guidelines to monitor the health of patients with chronic conditions like asthma and diabetes (47%)
  • Whether the doctor prescribed generics rather than prescription drugs when generics are available (47%)
  • Whether the doctor enrolls patients with chronic conditions like asthma and diabetes into disease management programs (45%).

Metrics receiving less support include:

  • The frequency with which the doctor’s patients use the emergency room for medical problems that could have been treated in the office (30%)
  • Whether the doctor uses reminder systems to prompt patients to refill their prescriptions when needed (28%)
  • Whether the doctor uses electronic patient medical records (18%)
  • Whether the doctor uses electronic systems to prescribe drugs to patients (15%)


TABLE 1

PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR PAY-FOR-PERFORMANCE SYSTEM

"To what extent do you favor or oppose having health insurance plans pay more to doctors if they have been shown to provide higher quality care to their patients?"

Base: All Adults


?
All Adults
Education
High School or Less

?

Some College

?

College Graduate

Post- graduate
?
%
%
%
%
%

?

Support
Strongly/Somewhat (NET)

?

38

33
39
45
50
Support strongly
13
11
13
15
15
Support somewhat
26
21
26
30
35
Neither favor nor oppose
32
36
29
29
31

Oppose
Strongly/Somewhat (NET)

17
17
19
16
11
Oppose somewhat
9
10
11
8
4
Oppose strongly
8
7
8
8
7
Not sure
12
14
12
10
9

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

TABLE 2

PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR DIFFERENT QUALITY METRICS

"Here is a list of the types of information that health insurance plans might use to judge the quality of care doctors provide to their patients. Which ones, if any, would you want to see used to judge the quality of care that doctors provide to patients? Please select all that apply."

Base: All Adults

?
All Adults
Education
High School or Less
Some College
College Graduate
Post- graduate
?
%
%
%
%
%
Patient satisfaction surveys
57
50
60
68
59
PATIENT REMINDERS:





Whether the doctor uses reminder systems to prompt patients to get needed follow-up care
50
47
51
50
57
Whether the doctor uses reminder systems to prompt patients to refill their prescriptions when needed
28
26
28
31
35
TECHNOLOGY METRICS:






Whether the doctor uses electronic patient medical records
18
14
20
21
28
Whether the doctor uses electronic systems to prescribe drugs to patients
15
12
15
19
20
CLINICAL METRICS:






Whether the doctor uses preventive tests like cancer screening and blood tests for high cholesterol
64
59
66
70
72
Whether the doctor uses standardized guidelines to monitor the health of patients with chronic conditions like asthma and diabetes
47
41
48
58
53
Whether the doctor prescribed generics rather than brand-name prescription drugs when generics are available
47
47
45
49
48
Whether the doctor enrolls patients with chronic conditions like asthma and diabetes into disease management programs
45
38
48
53
57
The frequency with which the doctor’s patients use the emergency room for medical problems that could have been treated in the office
30
24
31
37
39
None of these

15

18
16
8
10

TABLE 3

INTEREST IN QUALITY-BASED PHYSICIAN NETWORKS

"How interested would you be in a health insurance plan that provides access to fewer doctors, but certifies that those doctors provide higher quality care to their patients and charges you lower premium, deductible and co-payment charges?"

Base: All Adults

?
All Adults
Education
High School or Less
Some College
College Graduate
Post- graduate
?
%
%
%
%
%
Extremely/Very Interested/Interested (NET)
67
62
69
73
71
Extremely interested
9
8
7
16
6
Very interested
16
12
22
18
13
Interested
42
42
41
39
51
Not Very/Not At All Interested (NET)
33
38
31
27
29
Not very interested
18
18
17
18
18
Not at all interested
15
20
14
9
11

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

Downloadable PDFs of Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive Health-Care Polls are posted at http://www.harrisinteractive.com/news/newsletters_wsj.asp.

Methodology

This poll was conducted online in the United States between May 11 and 13, 2005 among a nationwide cross section of 2,129 adults aged 18 and over. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, income and region were weighted where necessary to align with population proportions. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

In theory, with probability samples of this size, one could say with 95 percent certainty that the overall results have a sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points of what they would be if the entire U.S. adult population had been polled with complete accuracy. Sampling error for the various sub-samples of adults with a high school education or less (452), those with some college education (909), college graduates (390), and those with a postgraduate education (378), is higher and varies. Unfortunately, there are several other possible sources of error in polls or surveys that are probably more serious than theoretical calculations of sampling error. This includes refusals to be interviewed (nonresponse), question wording and question order, and weighting. It is impossible to quantify the errors that may result from these factors. This online sample was not a probability sample.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

About the Survey

The Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive Health-Care Poll is an exclusive poll that is published in the award-winning Health Industry Edition of The Wall Street Journal Online at www.wsj.com/health.

About The Wall Street Journal Online

The Wall Street Journal Online at WSJ.com, published by Dow Jones & Company (NYSE: DJ; www.dowjones.com), offers authoritative analysis, breaking news and commentary from top industry journalists. Launched in 1996, the Online Journal is the largest paid subscription news site on the Web, with more than 689,000 subscribers world-wide. The Online Journal provides in-depth business news and financial information 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with insight and analysis, including breaking business and technology news and analysis from around the world. It draws on the Dow Jones network of more than 1,500 reporters and editors -- the largest staff of business and financial journalists in the world. For the second consecutive year in 2003, the Online Journal received a WebAward for the "Best Newspaper Web Site" and was also cited by Yahoo! Internet Life magazine as the "Best Business News" site (2002 & 2001).

About Dow Jones & Company

In addition to The Wall Street Journal and its international and online editions, Dow Jones & Company (NYSE: DJ; dowjones.com) also publishes Barron's and the Far Eastern Economic Review, Dow Jones Newswires, Dow Jones Indexes and the Ottaway group of community newspapers. Dow Jones is co-owner with Reuters Group of Factiva, with Hearst of SmartMoney and with NBC of the CNBC television operations in Asia and Europe. Dow Jones also provides news content to CNBC and radio stations in the U.S.

About Harris Interactive?

Harris Interactive Inc. (www.harrisinteractive.com), the 15th largest and fastest-growing market research firm in the world, is a Rochester, NY-based global research company that blends premier strategic consulting with innovative and efficient methods of investigation, analysis and application. Known for The Harris Poll? and for pioneering Internet-based research methods, Harris Interactive conducts proprietary and public research to help its clients achieve clear, material and enduring results.

Harris Interactive combines its intellectual capital, databases and technology to advance market leadership through its U.S. offices and wholly owned subsidiaries, HI Europe in London (www.hieurope.com), Novatris in Paris (www.novatris.com), and through an independent global network of affiliate market research companies. EOE M/F/D/V.

To become a member of the Harris Poll OnlineSM and be invited to participate in future online surveys, www.harrispollonline.com.

Last Updated ( 03 Aug 2005 )
 
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