Survey Asks: Do New Yorkers Use Available Information about Quality Health Care?

Surveying public perceptions of health care quality in New York State
    • September 1, 2006

In 2002–2003, researchers at the New York Academy of Medicine conducted telephone interviews and follow-up surveys of New York State residents to measure their perceptions about health care quality and information about quality, their experience with medical errors and their concerns about terrorism.

Key Findings

  • The research team reported these findings on health care quality in the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice:

    • A third of New Yorkers were very concerned about quality of care.
    • About three-fourths of respondents were not very confident in their health care decisions even though they expressed concern about health care services.
    • No single source of information stood out, with about 20 percent receiving information from the media in the past year and an equal number from non-media sources (e.g., coworkers, doctors).
    • Women and those with higher education recalled getting medical information more often than men or those with a high school education or less.
    • The survey results suggest that information on quality should be tailored to specific demographic groups.
  • The researchers reported these findings on medical errors in a report, Reported Experiences with Medical Errors in New York:

    • About one-fifth of respondents said they or a household member had experienced a medical error sometime in the past.
    • Respondents who were divorced, separated or widowed, African American and of higher income reported fewer errors than other groups.
    • Those who used information to make health care decisions were more likely to report having experienced a medical error in the household than those who did not use information.
  • Researchers reported this finding on terrorism in the International Journal of Emergency Mental Health:

    • New Yorkers were very concerned about future terrorist attacks; a substantial number said they would immediately evacuate their homes upon learning of an attack, regardless of public officials' instructions to the contrary.