Do Employees Use Report Cards to Assess Health Care Provider Systems?

July 2001
Schultz J, Call K, Feldman R, and Christianson J

Health Services Research--July 2001

OBJECTIVE: To investigate consumers' use of report cards that provide information on service quality and satisfaction at the provider group level. DATA SOURCES: In 1998 we conducted a telephone survey of randomly selected employees in firms aligned with the Buyers Health Care Action Group (BHCAG) in the Minneapolis-St. Paul market. STUDY DESIGN: Univariate probit models were used to determine report card utilization, perceived helpfulness of the report card, and ease of selecting a provider group. The characteristics used in the models included health status, age, gender, education, residency, job tenure, marital status, presence of dependent children, household income, and whether consumers changed provider groups. DATA COLLECTION: Our sample consists of survey responses from 996 single individuals (a response rate of 91 percent) and 913 families (a response rate of 96 percent). The survey was supplemented with data obtained directly from employers aligned with BHCAG. PRINCIPLE FINDINGS: Consumers who changed to a new provider group are more likely to use report card information and find it helpful, consumers employed in large firms are less likely to use the report card, and families who use information from their own health care experiences are less likely to find the report card helpful. In addition, individuals who changed to a new provider group are more likely to find the selection decision difficult. CONCLUSION: The findings show that health care consumers are using satisfaction and service-quality information provided by their employers.