Agencies Help Consumers Choose Health Care Plans and Providers

Identifying consumer priorities for information about health plan performance

From 1994 to 1996, researchers at Health Systems Research—a nonprofit health systems research company acquired by Altarum in 2006—sought to define, through a conference and focus groups, the kinds of information consumers want and need in order to make choices among health care plans and providers.

Key Results

  • The conference, entitled "Consumer Survey Information in a Reformed Health Care System," took place September 28–29, in Vienna, Va. It focused on consumer health information needs and the development of a research strategy for further work in this area.

  • In April 1996, project staff conducted two focus groups with potential users of CONQUEST 1.0, a computer database developed by the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR)—part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services—to aid in the development of measures of health care performance.

    The focus groups demonstrated the usefulness of the database and generated suggestions for improvement.