Consumers' Use of Internet-Based Nursing Home Report Cards
Abstract: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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David W. Baker, MD, MPH, FACP, executive vice president for the Division of Healthcare Quality Evaluation at The Joint Commission, is the inaugural editor-in-chief of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety.
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