Doctor-Patient Interaction a Benchmark of Provider Quality

(HealthDay News) — Most Americans focus on provider quality related to doctor-patient interactions rather than effectiveness of care when defining provider quality, according to a report published by the Associated Press-NORC (AP-NORC) Center for Public Affairs Research.

Researchers from the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research surveyed 595 U.S. adults on landlines and 407 on cell phones to gather information on the perceptions of health care provider quality.

According to the report, most Americans tend to focus on certain aspects of quality relating to doctor-patient interactions and doctors’ personality rather than the effectiveness of care provided.

Most respondents felt that requiring doctors to report the effectiveness of treatment and patient satisfaction would improve care quality. However, less than one-quarter of respondents receive provider quality information. Respondents report that they trust word-of-mouth and personal recommendations more than government or third-party provider quality data. About half of Americans believe that higher quality health care comes at a higher cost.

Finding information comparing providers’ costs and quality is very challenging, with less than one-third of Americans able to find these data. Finding information about provider quality and cost is even more challenging for those without insurance.

“This survey is designed to provide meaningful data on how consumers understand, trust, and use the health care information available to them,” Trevor Tompson, director of the AP-NORC Center, said in a statement.