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It’s Time to Disinfect – Feedback on ‘Voices for Value’ White Paper

Woman Doing HousekeepingThe feedback I continue to receive on provider grades and our ‘Voices for Value’ white paper have been absolutely astonishing. It’s clearly exceeding any pre-conceived expectations that I had prior to embarking on this research in 2013. Employers have spoken loud and clear about their PERCEPTIONS and, most importantly, the EXPECTATIONS they have for the hospitals and physicians serving their communities.

A few typical comments shared with me by employers on ‘Voices’ include:

Why haven’t employers been surveyed on this before?

My Response:  Great question! I honestly don’t know.

I’m not surprised by the results. In fact, I thought the scores/grades would have been less generous than they appear.

My Response:  I don’t think anyone is surprised by these results, including the providers themselves. Our expectations on impending improvements within our healthcare delivery system are tepid at best (due primarily to glacial progress) – if not flat out skeptical, at worst. It is important to note that survey respondents included both hospitals and physician groups, who are after all, employers as well. Interestingly, hospitals and physician groups equally appeared to be brutally honest about their perceptions/expectations of – themselves!

How did providers within our location perform on these performance measures?

My Response:  It depends. Scores certainly vary by location. In most cases, employers located in urban areas appear to be more critical of their providers than their rural counterparts. It is quite clear, however, that employers located in the northwest region of Iowa appear to be more complimentary of their hospitals and physicians than employers located elsewhere in the state. At this time, the reasons for this difference are only speculations. In fact, in 10 of the 12 performance indicators, northwest region employers graded their hospitals higher than the other four regions in Iowa. The other two indicators, “Access to Services” and “Consistent Quality of Care” were tied as the best in the northwest region with at least one of the other regions. There is still so much more that we need to know about this topic.

Now that we have this baseline information on employer expectations, what can we, as employers, do to have a more meaningful impact on the value of healthcare received by our employees and their families?

My Response:  Stay tuned! New approaches and initiatives are just beginning to emerge from this work.

In my next several blogs, I will be providing region-by-region comparisons for each of the 12 performance indicators on hospitals. Next week’s blog (to be published on June 25) will address how employers view hospitals on “Access to Services” and “Concern for Patient Satisfaction.” Future blogs will address the other Iowa hospital performance indicators.

Making his famous statement on transparency in a 1913 Harper’s Weekly article, former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis wrote the following:
“Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.”

In the weeks to come, I will do my best to provide a bit more sunlight on this massive topic.

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