New Survey Form May Help Patients Rate the Quality of Their Doctors

From 2001 to 2003, investigators from Massachusetts Health Quality Partners tested the feasibility of collecting and publicly reporting individual physician quality information. The researchers hoped that this demonstration project would serve as a model for organizations that conduct patient satisfaction surveys.

Data sources included surveys and interviews with adult members of employer-based health plans and Medicaid, as well as focus groups with Massachusetts physicians.

Key Findings

  • Project staff developed a single, well-validated and reliable survey instrument that provides valuable information on quality at the levels of the individual physician, medical group and health plan.

  • It is important to conduct quality surveys at the physician level, in spite of the added expense.

  • Although physicians in the focus groups wanted data about patients' views of physician quality, they needed to be persuaded that the surveys could accurately measure physician quality.

  • There was no connection between the type of insurance patients had and the quality of care they received.