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Consumers' Use of Internet-Based Nursing Home Report Cards

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Background: Few studies have addressed the extent to which consumers use nursing home report cards and how they use this information. These questions, which are significant because the nursing home market presents several challenges to the effectiveness of report cards, were pursued in a study.

Methods: Data used in this investigation came from three mail surveys conducted in 2006 of family members of nursing home residents (N = 4,754), family members of assisted-living residents (N = 496), and elders living in high-rise buildings (N = 1,252).

Results: Some 31% of family members of nursing home residents, 53% of family members of assisted-living residents, and 23% of elders living in high-rise buildings used the Internet in looking for a nursing home. In general, these different types of consumers look for different types of nursing home information.

Discussion: According to the results, most consumers who used the Internet to look for a nursing home also used a report card. In addition, between 6% and 17% of consumers specifically identified using Nursing Home Compare when looking for a nursing home. The highest use of report cards was reported by family members of assisted-living residents, followed by family members of nursing home residents. Many consumers primarily used the report cards simply to find the location of nursing homes—a useful first step when examining the facility choices available. Yet relatively few consumers primarily used report cards for the arguably more important step of comparing quality information. Future research should investigate why the quality information is not used to a greater extent and what hinders consumers from using this information.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2009

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  • Published monthly, The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety is a peer-reviewed publication dedicated to providing health professionals with the information they need to promote the quality and safety of health care. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety invites original manuscripts on the development, adaptation, and/or implementation of innovative thinking, strategies, and practices in improving quality and safety in health care. Case studies, program or project reports, reports of new methodologies or new applications of methodologies, research studies on the effectiveness of improvement interventions, and commentaries on issues and practices are all considered.

    Also known as Joint Commission Journal on Quality Improvement and Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Safety
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