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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Mary Ann Stump, BS, CPHQ (Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota)
Description: This book presents a series of eight articles relevant to the development of consumer score cards for healthcare. The authors are all individuals who are members of the Oregon Consumer Scorecard Consortium who have particular expertise in health policy, health services research, health program evaluation, and/or healthcare delivery.
Purpose: The purpose is to present the "lessons learned" from the Oregon Consumer Scorecard Consortium Demonstration Project. The authors hope to provide a "road map" or description of the process of developing report cards to facilitate consumer choice in selecting managed care organizations and healthcare providers. The authors also intend to provide guidance and support to others who wish to develop such consumer report cards.
Audience: The audience consists of policy makers, healthcare administrators, healthcare providers, and health service researchers who are interested in developing or interpreting consumer report cards.
Features: The eight chapters cover different issues and perspectives relevant to developing consumer report cards. The first chapter provides an introduction to the issues of "reporting quality in a market driven healthcare system." This is followed by chapters that describe focus group efforts to elicit the dimensions of consumer preference. Theoretical and practical issues in measuring consumer preferences and care quality are then discussed. A concluding chapter highlights the lessons learned by the consortium. A very helpful appendix presents actual examples of the consumer guide developed through this project.
Assessment: This book contains important information and informative lessons in the rapidly evolving area of consumer-oriented report cards on healthcare organizations. It is strongest in its effort to provide the point of view and lessons learned from this specific consumer report card project. The more general chapters provide a helpful introduction for individuals new to the issues in this area. Likewise, the sections on the use of focus groups in the development of measures are interesting and helpful introductory material. Nonetheless, policy makers and health services researchers will need to look elsewhere for a current, in depth literature review on this large and complex subject. Similarly, group practice managers and other healthcare administrators hoping to develop their own consumer score cards will likely need other resources to develop their own consumer report card program.