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How can Medicare patients best choose a doctor?

Helping Medicare patients compare doctors via the Care Compare website

Challenge

When it comes to selecting a doctor, the Care Compare website provides performance information on doctors and clinicians who care for Medicare patients and caregivers to help them make decisions about their health care. It also creates incentives for clinicians to provide quality care.

Managing this complex website requires knowledge in many areas, such as testing user experiences and understanding of complex topics, communicating with clinicians and the Medicare beneficiaries and caregivers who use the website, and supporting rulemaking that determines future directions of the site. Westat was hired to support the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in the implementation of the website.

Solution

Westat has worked on all aspects of the Care Compare: Doctors and Clinicians website, focusing on testing how people use the site and understand the plain language versions of technical measures.

We help develop a communications plan to promote the website to Medicare patients and caregivers, and educate clinicians via newsletter posts, webinars, tweets, and other avenues.

We continue to work with CMS to plan the policy for the website in future years and add more types of care ratings, such as the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS), more quality measures, and vet other relevant outcome measures.

Results

By providing information on quality-of-care measures, measures that track a clinician’s or group’s practice improvements, and use of health information technology, the Care Compare: Doctors and Clinicians site helps consumers make truly informed decisions about their health care and gives providers incentives to provide better care.

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