During 2000 and 2001, researchers at the Foundation for Accountability (FACCT, no longer in existence) conducted a series of surveys to evaluate the feasibility of using Internet-based surveys of consumers to develop quality ratings of physicians, hospitals, health plans and other health care providers.
- Compared responses from consumers who rated individual physicians and practices in a mailed survey with responses from those who rated the same physicians and practices via the Internet.
- Assessed various methods of recruiting consumers to participate in such surveys.
- Measured the level of satisfaction among users of FACCT's Compare Your Care Internet survey tool.
- Probed nonusers about their lack of participation.
There was little difference in the average ratings of individual physicians or practices provided by consumers who responded by mail and those who responded via the Internet.
Response rates varied widely but were highest among potential respondents recruited through so-called trusted sources, such as physicians and consumer groups.
Most respondents said they would use comparative ratings and comments from other patients to choose a doctor.
Nonusers cited lack of Internet access or time as their primary reason for not using the tool.