Quality Data – The Public Does Not Believe

Consumers using the Internet trust Web sites providing illness cause and treatment data, but are wary of Web sites providing quality information, according to research presented in an America‘s Health Insurance Plans online seminar.

Metavante Healthcare Payment Solutions contracted with Change Sciences Group to conduct the online interactive survey. More than 500 participants in August 2007 were asked to visit the Web sites of several insurance and financial companies and quality organizations to search for information on back pain and evaluate their experiences.

As consumer-driven healthcare continues to grow, AHIP is exploring patients’ perspective of health-savings accounts and trying to determine what would make consumers want to enroll in high-deductible plans. While most of the research was designed to answer that question, some of the survey responses indicated that consumers turn to the Internet for information about health conditions and how to treat them, but quality information still is not used.

Consumers trusted information about cause and treatment about 80% of the time, according to Metavante’s research. They trusted quality data about 40% of the time.

I have been saying for some time that consumers do not understand quality data. This data should be in the purview of physicians who use it to guide patients. And still you have to be cautious. Whose data do you use let alone believe? And how long until the public becomes savvy enough to know that hospitals just like others are paying these quality survey agencies to use their name if they happen to show favorable results. The public needs to be aware of hospitals that advertise quality ratings as the data is old as soon as it arrives. Physicians not the public need to step up. And should universal health care ever materialize there should be one universal set of quality standards that everyone uses.

But that’s my opinion. What’s yours?