What if the success of your doctor’s practice was published on a website for the world to see? Do you think it would change how your doctor provides care? A group in Minnesota has done just that; taken the information about standards and goals and compared them with other health providers in the state. MN Community Measurement began publishing healthcare results back in 2004. It’s an interesting premise because you want the motivation to be providing the best care, when in fact it may be the competition between medical practices.
How would your medical decisions change if your provider was given a report card? The reports are for illnesses like diabetes where there are clear guidelines and it’s easily monitored. Diabetes is certainly a leading concern in healthcare because the ramifications if not kept under control can be devastating. So what does this tracking system provide for us as patients? It provides us with outcome results that we can bring to our provider to further our conversations about our care. In Minnesota, tracking the diabetes patients is done using five measures. If you knew the five measures you could bring it to your own doctor and have the discussion. Sometimes you have to simply take matters into your own hands instead of waiting for a watchdog group to make standards of care universal.
As time goes by other illnesses and conditions will be added to the mix. The article about this monitoring process had some interesting quotes such as, “Physicians are very competitive people,” says Linda Walling, medical director for clinical informatics at HealthEast clinics…” I guess I should be thankful that physicians are competitive and want to rank higher or their care would be less than ideal…is that what she’s saying? Another quote by Judith Hibbard, a senior researcher at the University of Oregon states, “…Her research has found that public reporting motivates health-care providers to work harder on improving care, largely because of concern about their reputation.” Did I read that right? They’re more concerned about their reputation than providing optimum care in the first place? I’m confused.
How do you think this type of reporting will improve your level of care? What would you like to score your doctor on? Would you use the information provided on a website like the one in Minnesota and if so how would you use it? Let’s start the dialogue because it could truly be a matter of life and death!