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Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 26, Issue 5, pp 498–504 | Cite as

Physician Groups’ Use of Data from Patient Experience Surveys

  • Mark W. Friedberg
  • Gillian K. SteelFisher
  • Melinda Karp
  • Eric C. Schneider
Original Research

Abstract

Background

In Massachusetts, physician groups’ performance on validated surveys of patient experience has been publicly reported since 2006. Groups also receive detailed reports of their own performance, but little is known about how physician groups have responded to these reports.

Objective

To examine whether and how physician groups are using patient experience data to improve patient care.

Design and Participants

During 2008, we conducted semi-structured interviews with the leaders of 72 participating physician groups (out of 117 groups receiving patient experience reports). Based on leaders’ responses, we identified three levels of engagement with patient experience reporting: no efforts to improve (level 1), efforts to improve only the performance of low-scoring physicians or practice sites (level 2), and efforts to improve group-wide performance (level 3).

Main Measures

Groups’ level of engagement and specific efforts to improve patient care.

Key Results

Forty-four group leaders (61%) reported group-wide improvement efforts (level 3), 16 (22%) reported efforts to improve only the performance of low-scoring physicians or practice sites (level 2), and 12 (17%) reported no performance improvement efforts (level 1). Level 3 groups were more likely than others to have an integrated medical group organizational model (84% vs. 31% at level 2 and 33% at level 1; P < 0.005) and to employ the majority of their physicians (69% vs. 25% and 20%; P < 0.05). Among level 3 groups, the most common targets for improvement were access, communication with patients, and customer service. The most commonly reported improvement initiatives were changing office workflow, providing additional training for nonclinical staff, and adopting or enhancing an electronic health record.

Conclusions

Despite statewide public reporting, physician groups’ use of patient experience data varied widely. Integrated organizational models were associated with greater engagement, and efforts to enhance clinicians’ interpersonal skills were uncommon, with groups predominantly focusing on office workflow and support staff.

KEY WORDS

patient experience quality of care quality improvement physician groups public reporting 

Notes

Contributors:

The authors thank Elizabeth Siteman, BA, for assistance in performing the group leader interviews, and Elizabeth Steiner, MPP, for assistance in coding the interview transcripts. The authors also thank the members of the study national advisory committee for constructive feedback on preliminary study results.

Funder:

This study was sponsored by the Commonwealth Fund. No funder had a role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; and preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript.

Prior Presentation:

Preliminary results from this study were presented at the Annual Research Meeting of AcademyHealth in Chicago, Illinois on June 29, 2009.

Conflict of Interest:

None disclosed.

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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark W. Friedberg
    • 1
  • Gillian K. SteelFisher
    • 2
  • Melinda Karp
    • 3
  • Eric C. Schneider
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of General MedicineRAND, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.Harvard School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  3. 3.Massachusetts Health Quality PartnersWatertownUSA

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