Researchers Find that Businesses Purchasing Health Care for Employees are Not Paying Attention to Quality Data

The research and education arm of the National Association of Manufacturers, a Washington-based industrial trade association, surveyed member companies on their health care purchasing practices and prepared a 42-page report describing the findings and recommending seven steps to address rising health care costs.

The survey included questions to assess members' interest in value-based purchasing—the strategy of seeking the best quality health care at the most attractive price. The association issued the report—Health Care at the Crossroads: Manufacturers' Agenda for Lower Costs and Higher Qualit—in September 2002.

Key Findings

  • Less than a quarter of the association's member companies disseminate information to employees on how well health care plans perform based on quality of care measures and clinical outcomes.

  • Providing online health information to help employees manage diabetes, asthma and other chronic conditions is among the emerging strategies manufacturers are trying to reduce health care costs and enhance workers' heal


  • Employers should expand employee participation in programs that promote good health (wellness programs) and programs that monitor and manage chronic diseases.

  • States and the federal government should encourage development of health care purchasing groups for small business by giving them the same exemptions from complex state mandates now available to larger employers under federal law.