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States Still Fail to Deliver Physician Quality Metrics

Despite some progress, the overall availability of quality information remains low

When it comes to providing consumers with information on the quality of the health care that physicians provide, most states have a dismal record, according to a FierceHealthcare article on an annual report card issued by the Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute.

The scorecard dished out failing grades to 40 states and the District of Columbia. Three states (New Mexico, Missouri, and Ohio) managed a D; three got Cs (Oregon, Wisconsin, and Massachusetts); and Maine earned the lone B. California, Washington, and Minnesota stood at the top of the list with As.

Despite the poor overall results, the report's authors see some reason for optimism, citing progress by ProPublica and Consumers' Checkbook in aggregating and publishing ratings for certain surgical procedures.

While changes in the health care marketplace have spurred national interest in improving price transparency, quality data have mostly come from efforts on the state or community level to provide metrics on primary care physicians, according to the report. There's no question that consumers are hungry for care metrics, and that price metrics aren't enough to guide smart patient decisions without accompanying quality data. There's enough need to drive increased consumer interest in online service rankings.

To date, most of the processes to collect quality control metrics have been dominated by physicians, hospitals, and major health care players, according to a HealthAffairs Blog post. That has tilted the playing field in favor of collecting metrics more useful to providers than consumers.

Even among the states and communities making progress toward full transparency, consumers currently get access to information for less than half of all physicians in their respective states, the report says.

Source: FierceHealthcare, November 20, 2015.

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