On Tuesday, February 2, 2016, Massachusetts Health Quality Partners (MHQP) announces the results of the only independent statewide patient experience survey at www.healthcarecompassma.org. The survey encompassed nearly 65,000 patients from more than 500 primary care practices representing approximately 4,000 physicians across the state, who responded to the question of whether they would recommend their primary care physician to their family and friends.
MHQP’s patient experience survey asks people what actually happened when they or their children needed primary care. For example: whether they felt their doctor knew them; how well they could communicate with their doctor and office staff; whether they had access to timely appointments and information; and whether follow-up care with other doctors was well-coordinated – all of which are key elements of what is commonly called “patient-centered care”.
Focus on Behavioral Health Assessment:
Questions about whether or not providers ask patients about feeling depressed, feeling stressed, or experiencing problems with alcohol, drugs, or a mental or emotional illness are part of the survey results, and are particularly relevant in light of last week’s US Preventive Services Task Force recommendation for screening for depression in the general adult population.
• The 2014 statewide behavioral health assessment mean score of 53.1 indicates that there was substantial room for improvement
• The results of the 2015 survey indicate improvement to 56.5 for these behavioral health assessment measures, with several practices having made truly noteworthy progress
• Among the practices with statistically significant improvement, the increases ranged from 12 points to greater than 20 points
Depression and substance abuse can often be overlooked in routine primary care visits. Clinicians may be less comfortable screening for these problems than they are for other common diseases such as hypertension or diabetes due to lack of specialized training or access to effective treatments. Patients can also be uncomfortable answering questions due to the stigma around behavioral health disorders. It has been proven that early identification and treatment of depression or drug abuse improves patients’ health outcomes and reduces health care cost.
Other areas with strong statewide mean scores include integration of care, knowledge of patient and office staff interaction.
For each primary care practice in MA, patients also report on their willingness to recommend provider to family and friends is reported on Healthcare Compass MA. For press release and statewide results at a glance go to www.mhqp.org or contact Joe Ternullo at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-688-7031.
I look forward to hearing from readers on these important results.