Consumer Reports Publishes First Patient Experience Ratings of Primary Care Practices

Monday, June 4th, 2012
This post was written by Cheryl Miller

Looking for advice on a lawn mower, vitamin supplement, or primary care physician?

Then pick up a copy of Consumer Reports, because it’s now in the healthcare business. The consumer-friendly publisher of product ratings and reviews has released its first ever patient evaluation report of primary care practices. Developed jointly with the Massachusetts Health Quality Report, the report provides patient evaluations of nearly 500 practices in the Massachusetts area, including 329 adult practices and 158 pediatric practices on such topics as physician communication skills and accessibility. Patients also weigh in on whether they would recommend their physician to others.

We don’t need Consumer Reports, or any publication, for that matter, to weigh in on the dangers of smoking. But there’s now new information on how costly it is to smoke prior to undergoing surgery. A report from the Journal of the American College of Surgeons shows that smoking increases post-operative complications and drives up healthcare costs. Research shows that approximately 30 percent of patients undergoing elective general surgery procedures smoke, increasing inpatient costs by as much as 4 percent. The good news: quitting four to six weeks prior to a procedure can improve post-operative outcomes and decrease complications in patients. More details in this issue.

CMS is taking steps to reverse an alarming trend: the use of antipsychotic drugs on patients with dementia in nursing homes. Data shows that in 2010 more than 17 percent of nursing home patients had daily doses exceeding recommended levels. Beginning next month CMS, along with industry and advocacy partners, will launch a multi-tiered approach to the problem, including a training series for nursing homes and the publication of data on nursing home antipsychotic drug use.

And lastly, for six years we’ve tracked the growth of continuous coordinated patient care at the heart of the patient-centered medical home (PCMH), which has been shown to lower costs while improving healthcare outcomes. The PCMH lays the foundation for the delivery of accountable care. Once again, we invite you to describe your organization’s progress and outcomes in the PCMH model by June 15, 2012 and you’ll receive a free e-summary of the results from this sixth annual review of the medical home model. All responses will be kept confidential. Thanks for participating!

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