Consumers want their doctors to follow clinical guidelines, they want to know how well a physician uses those guides, and they want a health plan to pay physicians extra if they adhere to the guidelines in their practice, according to a survey conducted by Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
The survey found that 80% of respondent healthcare consumers want their physicians to use "established best practice guidelines for treatment and diagnosis," according to a statement today by the Chicago-based association of 40 Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans, which conducted the survey.
Also, 78% of those consumers surveyed indicated it would be good to know how well a physician applied the guidelines in his or her practice, and 68% said they would likely use the information to choose a physician.
Finally, 68% of consumers indicated they were in favor health plan programs rewarding doctors with "a strong, proven record of using best practice guidelines," according to the association.
"This study shows that consumers want to know that they are receiving the best care possible," said Allan Korn, M.D., chief medical officer of Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. "With the continued dramatic increases in medical costs, it is important that hospitals and physicians that meet broadly-accepted quality standards be rewarded for their efforts as a way to encourage greater consistency of quality healthcare."
Consumers apparently hold hospitals to an even higher standard, according to the survey. Eighty-seven percent of respondents indicated it was important for hospitals to apply best-evidence guidelines, and 82% answered that having information about how well a hospital applies guidelines would be very or fairly valuable. Another 74% said they would be very likely or fairly likely to choose a hospital that uses guidelines.
The telephone survey was conducted between Nov. 18 and Nov. 21 by Peter D. Hart Research Associates, Washington, and had 1,347 respondents, according to association spokesman Chris Hamrick. The association cited member plans in Illinois, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and New York with various pay-for-performance programs.