Patients will not use data to choose services

Patients are unlikely to use performance data to choose their health providers and drive improvements in quality, researchers writing in the BMJ argue.

The warning comes as the DoH has launched its Atlas of Variations in care, which outlines the amount PCTs spend on clinical services and links this with the health outcomes patients see.

The report by researchers at the Health Foundation said that giving patients high quality information should not be seen as a mechanism for driving improvements in the quality of care. Instead, presenting information to patients should be seen instead as having the softer and longer term benefit of creating a new dynamic between patients and providers, the researchers said.

The report highlighted that evidence from the past 20 years provides ‘little support’ to the idea that most patients behave in a consumerist fashion when it comes to choosing healthcare. It said: ‘Although patients are clear that they want information to be made publicly available, they rarely search for it, often do not understand or trust it, and are unlikely to use it in a rational way to choose the best provider.’

The report concluded: ‘In this paper, we present a significant challenge to those who believe that providing information to patients to enable them to make choices between providers will be a major driver for improvement in the near or medium term.

‘We suggest that, for the foreseeable future, presenting high quality information to patients should be seen as having the softer and longer term benefit of creating a new dynamic between patients and providers, rather than one with the concrete and more immediate outcome of directly driving improvements in quality of care.’

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Refugee doctors and international medical graduates set to help NHS in coronavirus outbreak

Refugee doctors and international medical graduates set to help NHS in coronavirus outbreak

Hundreds of unregistered refugee doctors and international medical graduates will...

Practices offered less than average locum rate for bank holiday opening

Practices offered less than average locum rate for bank holiday opening

Practices in England will be reimbursed a maximum of just £62.50 an hour for locum...

Cumbrian GP's bright idea sparks production of thousands of items of PPE

Cumbrian GP's bright idea sparks production of thousands of items of PPE

A Cumbrian GP's call for help to provide local practices with eye protection in the...

NHS England launches mental health hotline to support staff during pandemic

NHS England launches mental health hotline to support staff during pandemic

GPs and other NHS staff can now access a new mental health hotline offering support...

Split staff to handle patients with and without COVID-19 symptoms, GPs told

Split staff to handle patients with and without COVID-19 symptoms, GPs told

GPs and practice staff should be allocated to manage either patients with COVID-19...

Coronavirus: Key guidance GPs need to know about COVID-19

Coronavirus: Key guidance GPs need to know about COVID-19

GPonline provides an overview of the key guidance relating to coronavirus, including...