Most states fail on physician quality information for second year

Nearly 90 percent of states received a failing grade for transparency of information on physician quality, according to a new report from the Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute (HCI3).

HCI3 gave 40 states and the District of Columbia an F for publicly available information and four more states a D, which is considered failing. Only two states, Minnesota and Washington, received As, unchanged from 2013.

In determining grades, HCI3 looked at the availability of quality data as well as its accessibility to the public. The group also looked at the specificity of the available information, whether it was disseminated by a neutral third party, whether it was available for free and whether data had been collected no earlier than 2011. An F grade meant a state reporting program did not meet any of those criteria.

An appendix to the report also found that the federal government has fallen behind in collecting quality data. "The upshot is that in 2014, 15 years after the publication of 'To Err Is Human' by the Institute of Medicine, there is little, if any, useful and meaningful information on the quality of care provided by hospitals," Francois de Brantes, executive director of the Institute, said in a statement. "Consumers are flying blind when it comes to selecting hospitals and physicians, and the overall quality and affordability of American healthcare won't be improved until we find a way to solve this problem."

A July poll found Americans have low confidence in their ability to find the best possible provider based on available information, with respondents mistrustful of quality information provided by government sources, FierceHealthpayer previously reported. Seventy-eight percent said they could not find information comparing quality of care provided by physicians, and less than a quarter had seen information comparing doctors in the last year. HCI3 also gave a similar proportion of states failing grades on price transparency this year.

To learn more:
- read the report (.pdf)
- here's the statement