Patient utilization of public reporting has been suboptimal despite attempts to encourage use. Lack of utilization may be due to discordance between reported metrics and what patients want to know when making health care choices.
The objective of this study was to identify measures of quality that individuals want to be presented in public reporting and explore factors associated with researching health care.
Patient interviews and focus groups were conducted to develop a survey exploring the relative importance of various health care measures.
Interviews and focus groups conducted at local outpatient clinics. A survey administered nationally on an anonymous digital platform.
Likert scale responses were compared using tests of central tendency. Rank-order responses were compared using analysis of variance testing. Associations with binary outcomes were analyzed using multivariable logistic regression.
Overall, 4672 responses were received (42.0% response rate). Census balancing yielded 2004 surveys for analysis. Measures identified as most important were hospital reputation (considered important by 61.9%), physician experience (51.5%), and primary care recommendations (43.2%). Unimportant factors included guideline adherence (17.6%) and hospital academic affiliation (13.3%, P<0.001 for all compared with most important factors). Morbidity and mortality outcome measures were not among the most important factors. Patients were unlikely to rank outcome measures as the most important factors in choosing health care providers, irrespective of age, sex, educational status, or income.
Patients valued hospital reputation, physician experience, and primary care recommendations while publicly reported metrics like patient outcomes were less important. Public quality reports contain information that patients perceive to be of relatively low value, which may contribute to low utilization.