What is quality? Its another thing that’s hard to define, but you “know it when you see it”. Our notions of quality can be bizarre in healthcare. The things that matter to you- the things you expect when you see happy, active patients on TV commercials- are often not measured in healthcare. Have you returned to a good quality of life? Are you back to where you were before you got sick? If not, do you understand why? Our goal at Patient Premier is to take existing measured public data about quality and make it useful to you. This knowledge can help you make better decisions about where you get your care and how to get the best quality of care.
Our beliefs and perceptions of quality are influenced by so many things. For example, whats a quality wine? We know that surprising factors beyond taste have a big influence. The label, the environment in which it is drunk, the friends you are with and the price of the bottle have a big influence. The latter is often the most surprising– the more you pay for something, the more you want it to taste good. You expect a more expensive wine to taste better.
This has been an elusive concept for healthcare providers. For years we focused on mortality- whether you lived or died- as the true measure of quality. While that is important, it shocked providers when patients were not happy- even when they left the hospital alive! They started to measure satisfaction and realized that wait times, the cleanliness and appearance of the facility, friendliness of staff and clear communication made a big difference!
As time progressed, everyone demanded that we measure quality. These measurements, however, are difficult and hard to do—and take time. Instead, we came up with surrogate markers for quality. Infections, survey results, antibiotic administration, rates of heart attack, rates of readmissions, etc. All of this approximates but does not measure happiness and quality of life.
So— how do you put it all together? How do you make sense of this data and make it useful? That’s why Patient Premier exists. Our quality scores allow you to see where a particular provider stands. Is your doctor part of a health system that is high quality? Will they refer you for tests and procedures to high quality facilities? We show you the overall score and the components that go into it.
Healthcare is not perfect. The data is even less perfect! But the more information we get, the better the data get. The more data we get, the better healthcare gets. Its a useful cycle in which everyone gets better!