ABSTRACT: To examine how specific health plan practices contribute to physicians' willingness to recommend a health plan to a patient, and whether the relative importance of plan practices is viewed differently when patients are seriously ill.
The Physician's Evaluation of Health Plans Project has surveyed 1,757 generalist physicians in 16 health plans in 5 areas nationwide. Each physician reported on one plan. Three multi-item scales assessed physicians' perceptions of health plan activities that facilitated or impeded high-quality care in the plans and the clinical capabilities of plan physicians. Regression analyses were used to explore relations between facilitators, barriers, and clinical capabilities, and two global physician judgments (the physician's willingness to recommend a plan and their judgment that a plan provided lower quality for sicker patients).
A physician's willingness to recommend a health plan is more highly related to what plans do to facilitate care than to the barriers created by plans in managing care. However, barriers to care were substantially more important when evaluating health plan quality for sicker patients.
From the physician's perspective, the relative importance of plan strategies to manage care is different for typical patients and patients who are more seriously ill. Efforts to collect information on health plan quality should separately evaluate care for sicker patients, in addition to evaluating the overall performance of the health plan.
Medical Care 06/2001; 39(5):469-77. · 3.41 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: Physicians provide one source of information about the quality of care in health plans, but concerns exist that physicians cannot distinguish quality from financial considerations or other underlying attitudes. We examined whether physicians can (a) distinguish different domains of health plan quality and (b) distinguish health plan quality from their underlying attitudes. We analyzed data on 419 generalist physicians from four health plans. Three scales assessed physicians' perceptions of facilitators and barriers to high-quality care in the plans and the clinical capabilities of plan physicians. Structural equation modeling indicated that physicians could distinguish domains of health plan quality. Physicians could also distinguish plan quality from their attitudes toward the plan, but plan quality was more highly correlated with general managed care attitudes than expected. These data suggest that physicians can provide information about health plan quality, but it will be important to validate these measures against patient outcomes.
Evaluation & the Health Professions 04/2001; 24(1):18-35. · 1.23 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: The health care market is demanding increasing amounts of information regarding quality of care in health plans. Physicians are a potentially important but infrequently used source of such information.
To assess physicians' views on health plan practices that promote or impede delivery of high-quality care in health plans and to compare ratings between plans.
Minneapolis-St Paul, Minn.
One hundred physicians in each of 3 health plans. Each physician rated 1 health plan.
Likert-type items that assessed health plan practices that promote or impede delivery of high-quality care.
A total of 249 physicians (84%) completed the survey. Fewer than 20% of all physicians gave plans the highest rating (excellent or strongly agree) for health plan practices that promote delivery of high-quality care (such as providing continuing medical education for physicians, identifying patients needing preventive care, and providing physicians feedback about practice patterns). Barriers to delivering high-quality care related to sufficiency of time to spend with patients, covered benefits and copayment structure, and utilization management practices. Ratings differed across health plans. For example, the percentage of physicians indicating that they would recommend the plan they rated to their own family was 64% for plan 1, 92% for plan 2, and 24% for plan 3 (P<.001 for all comparisons).
Physician surveys can highlight strengths and weaknesses in health plans, and their ratings differ across plans. Physician ratings of health plan practices that promote or impede delivery of high-quality care may be useful to consumers and purchasers of health care as a tool to evaluate health plans and promote quality improvement.
JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association 09/1997; 278(11):917-21. · 30.03 Impact Factor