Response to: Posting Quality Indicators – What’s Your Take?

In Aaron Holbrook’s recent post on “Posting Quality Indicators – What’s Your Take?” he asks for tips for doing this successfully. This needs to begin with an evaluation of what you intend to accomplish by putting quality information online.

I see a great deal of interest in using quality data to attract patients. Research from Thompson, Pew and others indicates that patients do, in fact, respond to quality. But, I continue to be skeptical that such interest translates into the presentation of detailed quality information. Research appears to support the idea that client satisfaction seems to still rule health consumer’s perception of quality.

This makes some sense. How many of your patients understand- let alone rate you on – something like central line infection rates? It’s simply easier to rate a hospital based on your experience rather than quality data.

So, if health consumers are your target audience, focus your energy on wrapping a story around the quality information to communicate why it’s relevant and how consumers can use the information to make better decisions.

The stronger argument for putting your data on the table is that transparency leads to improvement. I’d strongly recommend robust executive support before you proceed down such a path. Not everyone will be equally happy with the scrutiny that transparency can bring. I am aware of some organizations whose quality reporting initiatives have stalled through political turmoil or arguments over the decisions of what to share or decisions to release statistics on a facility basis or an enterprise basis.

What I’d like to see in the future is quality and cost information coming together. That would at least be sufficient information that consumers might use it to make meaningful choices. However, I’ve not yet seen any organization putting that together.

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Ben Dillon

About Ben Dillon

Ben’s a big picture type of guy. He loves sharing new ideas in digital marketing, keeping a watchful eye on healthcare industry trends and seeing how it all intersects. A sought-after speaker, writer, blogger and current SHSMD board member, Ben’s an influential voice in healthcare marketing, helping organizations across the country embrace online strategies to engage health consumers. Combine his industry savvy with his background in software development and you can see why he’s also an important member of Geonetric’s software team, ensuring our content management system stays a step ahead of market needs. Ben holds a master’s degree in eBusiness and strategic management from the University of Iowa and a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from the University of Michigan. When he’s not traveling and evangelizing, Ben enjoys cooking with his family and playing the Big House with the University of Michigan Alumni marching band.

2 thoughts on “Response to: Posting Quality Indicators – What’s Your Take?

  1. Hey Ben, thanks for the pingback!

    Anyways, great thoughts overall; I’d definitely agree with your sentiment, however I think as more and more consumers become savvy in terms of researching quality information it’s better to have it available and be as transparent as possible than to not have it at all.

    I think for the average consumer, having quality data isn’t going to really make a difference one way or the other, except in the way that it’s presented – like, look we’re putting all our cards on the table, and yea, we’ve got some room for improvement in this area, but our other areas are very high. I think this also establishes a level of trust and respect in terms of putting it all out there, and proudly admitting that these are the numbers – regardless of how good they are, we’re not hiding anything.

    I’d also really like to see cost information become transparent as well – I think that’s one of the big hurdles yet to cross. I’ve had talks with our patient/business services director, and while there’s definitely support in that realm – I think figuring out the logistics is going to be pretty difficult.

  2. I agree with you there. Particularly for consumers, the story and presentation that you put around data is the key.

    The data is out there regardless if you’re putting it on your site. I noticed a blog post from HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt’s blog announcing an updated version of Hospital Compare. The interface still has a lot to be desired, but there is a tremendous amount of data there.


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