Objective. To investigate consumers' use of report cards that provide infor
mation on service quality and satisfaction at the provider group level.
Data Sources. In 1998 we conducted a telephone survey of randomly selected
employees in firms aligned with the Buyers Health Care Action Group (BHCAG)
in the Minneapolis-St. Paul market.
Study Design. Univariate probit models were used to determine report card u
tilization, perceived helpfulness of the report card, and ease of selecting
a provider group. The characteristics used in the models included health s
tatus, age, gender, education, residency, job tenure, marital status, prese
nce of dependent children, household income, and whether consumers changed
Data Collection. Our sample consists of survey responses from 996 single in
dividuals (a response rate of SI percent) and 913 families (a response rate
of 96 percent). The survey was supplemented with data obtained directly fr
om employers aligned with BHCAG.
Principle Findings. Consumers who changed to a new provider group are more
likely to use report card information and find it helpful, consumers employ
ed in large firms are less likely to use the report card, and families who
use information from their own health care experiences are less likely to f
ind the report card helpful. In addition, individuals who changed to a new
provider group are more likely to find the selection decision difficult.
Conclusion. The findings show that health care consumers are using satisfac
tion and service-quality information provided by their employers.