OR provides case study for consumer-driven care

In Oregon, consumers are getting just about as much data on healthcare providers as anyone in the country. Not only is the state reporting detailed hospital price comparisons, hospital-specific death rates and infection rates, ten of the state's health plans are driving an effort to report on physician performance. Still, it's going to take a while to get consumers interested and on board, says Regence BlueCross BlueShield vice president. "I think it's going to be a number of years," he says. 

Why is consumer use of health data so slow to happen in Oregon? Well, the same reason as in other states, observers say: publicly-reported performance ratings are still crude, and they may or may not even be providing consumers with the information they want. Meanwhile, commercial ratings may offer contradictory results, adding more confusion to the mix. Add that to the fact that patients prefer to make healthcare choices based on personal references and physician referrals, and the picture for data-driven healthcare shopping looks doubtful.  

Given these concerns, it seems we've got a long way to go nationally--not just in Oregon--before we can turn consumers into price- and quality-driven shoppers who compare hospitals and doctors like cars and refrigerators.

To find out more about Oregon's situation:
- read this article from The Oregonian

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