Grant: #73048

Grantee Institution: Public Agenda, Inc.

Principal Investigator: David Schleifer, Ph.D.

Grant Period: October 1, 2015 – July 31, 2017

Budget: $399,130

Project Aim: To explore the physician and hospital qualities and characteristics that matter to people who have recently experienced one of three common types of health care: type 2 diabetes care, joint replacement surgery and maternity care.  

Key Findings:

  • Interpersonal and clinical qualities were important to people receiving diabetes, joint replacement, and maternity care, but how important depended on their health needs.
  • Few people across the three groups were aware that quality varies or that price varies for doctors or for hospitals.
  • More people across the three groups spent more time learning about the care they needed than about doctors or hospitals providing that care.
  • Few people across the three groups knew or tried to find out if a doctor or hospital had the clinical qualities that they think are important.
  • This study was one of the first to compare consumer perspectives on quality across different health conditions.

Project Description: 

As individuals and families pay a greater share of health care costs, many stakeholders are working to increase price and quality transparency to help individuals choose high value care.  However, public reporting of price and quality information may not necessarily address consumers’ needs, sources are inconsistent in how they report such information, and experts disagree on how best to measure quality.  The researchers employed a mixed methods design involving a literature review and expert interviews, focus groups, and a nationally representative internet survey to understand consumers’ valuation practices, information needs, and decision-making in three health care situations that affect large numbers of Americans, for which price and quality vary, and for which there is little representative research about consumer choice:  (1) care during pregnancy and childbirth; (2) joint replacement; and (3) management of type 2 diabetes.  The goal of this project was to inform policymaker and stakeholder actions to improve conditions for consumers to choose safe, effective and reasonably priced care.

This project was funded as part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s solicitation “Optimizing Value in Health Care: Consumer-focused Trends from the Field,” which supported studies that addressed consumer perceptions of value in the new and emerging health care landscape.


Study Snapshot: People Value Different Aspects of Quality Care Depending on Their Health Needs
AcademyHealth | November 2017

Qualities That Matter: Public Perceptions of Quality in Diabetes Care, Joint Replacement and Maternity Care
Public Agenda | July 2017