The March Edition of Health Affairs, the nation’s leading journal of health care policy, thought, and research, includes an article co-authored by Judy Hirsh, director of consumer strategy and programs at the Health Collaborative. The article is titled, Public Reporting: An Experiment Shows That A Well-Designed Report On Costs And Quality Can Help Consumers Choose High-Value Health Care.

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The article reveals how patients responded to cost and quality information when evaluating health care options. Hirsh’s Cincinnati based focus group research was used to help develop a larger, quantitative study that was detailed in the article. The research detailed in the article indicated that patients tended to equate high price with high quality when evaluating health care options on price alone, however when they were presented with well displayed quality data in addition to price, they made more sophisticated value judgments.

Subscribers to Health Affairs will find the article on page 560 of the March issue, or they can follow the online link to the abstract. The March edition focuses on health information technology including the more specific topic of public reporting on cost and quality.

The Health Collaborative has led an aggressive public reporting program in Greater Cincinnati with over 450 primary care physicians voluntarily reporting on mutually agreed upon clinical outcome measures that have been identified by multi-stakeholdersas standards for quality care. The information is presented in a patient friendly Web based display on the groundbreaking website, www.YourHealthMatters.org.

The Health Collaborative created the website following months of market research led by Hirsh. The data display, copy strategy and even the graphics were all tested with Cincinnati focus groups providing insights and feedback. The website currently displays quality results for three conditions and plans are underway to add additional measures. YourHealthMatters is made possible by the generosity of Bethesda Inc and AF4Q, an initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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The Health Collaborative assembles diverse community stakeholders; hospitals, physicians, insurers, patients, business, education, government and community members, with the goal of generating measurable, sustainable health improvement. The work of the Collaborative has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. For more information, visit www.the-collaborative.org.

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