Minnesota residents now have a robust, objective resource to compare the patient experience of care across medical clinics. The statewide Quality Reporting and Measurement System, created by a state reform initiative in 2008, has already rolled out public reporting of clinical quality measures. The new patient experience measures are based on more than 230,000 survey results and will complement the information that’s already available.
I’m a big fan of publicly reported patient experience measures. They enable easy comparisons across different types of physicians, are based on patient reported information, and are relatively straightforward for providers to improve if they make it a priority. We’ve had statewide reporting on patient experience in Massachusetts for several years, and I’ve found the information to be useful and accurate.
“For the first time, people in Minnesota can get information about the experience that other patients, like them, have had at physician practices across the state,” said Jim Chase, MNCM president. “The survey includes important information for patients about access to care, communication, and interactions with staff. Sharing this information can help patients know what they should expect and help physician practices learn what they can do to improve the results.”
I encourage patients and family members to review the information and take it into account when choosing a practice. Health plans can and should incorporate patient experience into their network development and pay-for-performance plans.
The information on patient experience is presented at the practice site level. In general that’s ok, especially for process-sensitive measures such as ease of making appointments. However other important elements, such as communication, do vary significantly by provider even within the same practice. Although it’s more expensive to collect the data at the individual practitioner level –due to the need for larger sample sizes—the results are more valuable. Maybe with time we will see a move in that direction.
By David E. Williams of the Health Business Group.