Saturday, February 18, 2006

Conumer Satisfaction Scores = "Least Useful Information"

From the Washington Post (via Medlaw and Symtym):

In their quest for better health care, America's seniors have been scrutinizing report cards that grade Medicare's managed-care plans. But researchers worry that patients are being enticed by fancy waiting rooms, friendly receptionists and convenient parking garages rather than the best care providers.

That's based on an analysis by the National Bureau of Economic Research that suggests patients may be acting upon the least useful information, namely consumer satisfaction scores.

Although the report cards include health quality data, such as how many women in a plan received mammograms or whether diabetics were receiving proper eye care, patients' feedback had the most impact on future sign-ups.

"It is surprising that satisfaction scores were included at all, and potentially disconcerting that consumers ignored an alternative, objective measure of quality that was also provided," the authors wrote.


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