Quality in Primary Care Open Access

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Exploring consumer values of comparative performance information for hospital choice

Joze? Braspenning, Nicole A B M Ketelaar, Marjan J Faber, Gert P Westert, Glyn Elwyn

Background In many countries, market orientation in healthcare has resulted in the publication of comparative performance information (CPI). Most of the research in this field is oriented towards the content and the presentation format of CPI while little is known about how consumers value CPI and the use of this information. Aim The aim of this study was to clarify the perceived value that CPI brings for consumers of healthcare.Methods Qualitative research using six focus group interviews. Twenty-seven healthcare consumers were recruited using a mailing list and by personal invitation. Data from focus group interviews were transcribed and thematic analysis undertaken. Results Most participants were unaware of CPI, and valued alternative sources of information more than CPI. Through discussion with other consumers and by means of examples of CPI, respondents were able to express the values and perceived effects of CPI. Numerous underlying values hindered consumers’ use of CPI, and therefore clarification of consumer values gave insights into the current nonusage of CPI. Conclusions CPI is marginally valued, partly because of conflicting values expressed by consumers and, as such, it does not yet provide a useful information source on hospital choice beyond consumers’ current selection routines in healthcare. Future research should be more focused on the values of consumers and their impact on the use of CPI.