Though comparatively late to adopt quality ratings, many health care products and services are today quality rated. For example, CMS rates hospital, nursing home and home health care care quality along with Medicare Advantage insurance and prescription drug, or Part D plans. Quality performance is a factor in calculating rewards and penalties in Medicare pay for performance agreements, for example, in scoring earned shared savings for Accountable Care Organizations. Though today common, rating care quality is not without criticism. For example, researchers question the validity of how component or domain scores are weighted or clustered, the absence or inadequacy of risk adjustment, meaningfulness to patients, patient literacy/numeracy limitations and unintended negative consequences.
During this 21 minute conversation, Dr. Peter discusses why Consumer Reports rates hospital care quality, the methodology used in scoring hospital care quality, specifically types of care quality, for example prevalence of hospital-acquired infections, the response to ratings by hospitals, use by patients or consumers, the imperfections or limitations in rating hospital care quality, unintended negative consequences and how Consumer Reports intends to improve upon its work in the near term.
Dr. Doris Peter is the Director of Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center, a part of the nonprofit organization, Consumer Reports. Beyond hospitals her team rates other health care services including physicians and insurance plans and as well health care products, e.g., drugs. Dr. Peter is also the Principal Investigator of a grant from the Consumer and Prescriber Education Grant Project that helps consumers understand safety, effectiveness and the cost of prescription and over-the-counter medications. Prior to joining Consumer Reports Dr. Peter was an editor and then publisher of the nonprofit organization, The Medical Letter, and then North American editor for an international evidence-based medicine journal. Dr Peter is a neurobiologist by training, earning her Ph.D. at UCLA. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in cellular biophysics at Rockefeller University.
For more on Consumer Reports hospital quality ratings efforts go to: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/health/doctors-and-hospitals/index.htm.