Quality Field Notes: Public Reporting

Family-practice physicians discuss a patient's progress.

How to Report on the Quality of Physician Practices

As part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) initiative, 16 alliances across the country have published public reports about the quality and value of care provided by local physicians. The reports are important because they help patients make informed choices, and help physicians understand how to improve their performance.

The content of these reports are varied. Some rely on insurance claims data. Others use metadata taken directly from physicians’ medical records, and several directly survey patients to ask how they experienced care. Many alliances overcame initial resistance from local physicians to performance measurement.

Despite early challenges, indicators show that when used, the reports help improve the quality of health care. AF4Q communities learned that while data is important, communicating those data in a clear and actionable way can increase usability for both consumers and patients.

See the case studies and resource guide to understand how to report publicly on the quality and value of physician practices.

Key Findings

  • A study of 567 health care practices in Wisconsin showed that participation in public reporting correlated with improved performance. 

  • The National Quality Forum has identified and endorsed more than 750 standardized measures for publicly reporting performance.