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Kansas City Patients Rate Their Doctors in Most Reliable Survey of Its Kind

New Report Is Available to Everyone Online and Represents a Significant Step to Improve Health Care and Lower Costs

KANSAS CITY, Mo., July 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Patients in Kansas City give their primary-care doctors high marks for communicating effectively and treating them respectfully, according to a new patient experience survey.

The results for more than 700 doctors are available at in a format that allows Web users to look up and compare the results for individual doctors and narrow the list to doctors near a specific zip code.

In the fall of 2008, 103,537 patients responded to a Consumers' CHECKBOOK/Center for the Study of Services survey about their recent experiences with primary care doctors. The survey asked patients about their health care experiences that are closely linked to quality of care and the strength of the doctor-patient relationship.

"The participants were asked how well their doctors listen to and communicate with them and how familiar doctors are with their patients' medical histories," said Cathy Davis, executive director of the Kansas City Quality Improvement Consortium (KCQIC). "These are essential to a successful visit to the doctor and are qualities likely to help patients develop trusting relationships and follow medical advice."

Reporting information about the performance of doctors and hospitals can help drive better health care. It helps consumers make informed choices and lets health care providers see where they can improve.

The survey gauged opinions about primary-care doctors who care for adults ? family practitioners, internists, geriatricians and general practitioners.

Many Patients Say They Have Good Experiences of Care with Their Doctor

A sample of the findings includes:

  • Seventy-eight (78) percent of patients reported that their doctor "always" listens carefully to them.
  • Sixty-one (61) percent of patients reported they "always" get an appointment as soon as they think it is needed when they phone the doctor's office to get an appointment.
  • Seventy-six (76) percent of patients reported that their doctor "always" gives them easy to understand instructions about taking care of their health problems or concerns.

"This new survey shows that a great majority of patients in Kansas City are pleased with their experience of care and communication from their doctors," said Stephen Salanski, M.D., chair of the KCQIC Board. "Hopefully, those physicians who did not score as well will take this opportunity to make improvements in these key aspects of patient care."

The consortium will work closely with the medical society to assist doctors and their staffs to improve their performance to even higher levels than the survey shows now.

Kansas City is one of the 15 communities participating in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Aligning Forces for Quality initiative that asks doctors, patients, employers, insurers, health groups, activists and others to work toward common, fundamental objectives leading to better care, including measuring and disclosing doctors' and hospitals' performance and educating consumers about chronic diseases.

"Patients are increasingly being asked to take on more and more responsibility for their own health care," said Trent DeVreugd, committee executive of Health and Aging of Caring Communities of the Local Investment Commission. "This patient experience information gives us a new tool to help manage those responsibilities."

Unlike other surveys that rate patients' experiences, the CHECKBOOK results use statistically valid samples ? an average of 58 patients per doctor in the Kansas City area.

"This rigorous survey design has enabled us confidently to identify real differences among doctors," said Robert Krughoff, CHECKBOOK's president, a national non-profit consumer organization that provides consumers with unbiased information to help them get high quality services.

CHECKBOOK conducted the survey with the assistance of the consortium, the Metropolitan Medical Society of Greater Kansas City, BlueCross BlueShield of Kansas City, Aetna, UnitedHealthcare and other organizations seeking to improve health care quality in greater Kansas City.

Kansas City is one of three metropolitan areas participating in the Consumers' CHECKBOOK pilot survey project; the other two are Memphis and Denver. CHECKBOOK plans to move to other cities shortly.


The Kansas City Quality Improvement Consortium (KCQIC) was formed by the UAW-Ford Community Health Care Initiative and community stakeholders to address health care quality in the Greater Kansas City area. KCQIC began meeting on a regular basis in November of 2000 and was granted 501c3 status in 2005. KCQIC membership includes physicians, health plans, and other community partners who share the same goal of quality health. For more information visit

Comments of Local Healthcare Leaders on the CHECKBOOK Initiative

"Aetna has long been interested in providing members with patient satisfaction survey data they can use in selecting the right physician, but it has been difficult to gather sufficient patient feedback on each doctor to provide scientifically valid and meaningful information," said Lonny Reisman, M.D., Aetna's chief medical officer. "The collaborative approach used by CHECKBOOK was the key to surmounting this hurdle. The more people weighing in, the more credible and useful the information will be. Aetna, as well as the employers who sponsor health plans for their employees, look forward to the survey becoming available in additional markets."

"As part of our support for transparency tools and to provide information to consumers and physicians on rating the healthcare experience, we at Aetna are pleased to help sponsor this survey and participate in this and other KCQIC quality initiatives," said Marla Tobin, M.D., Aetna's north central regional medical director.

"This collaborative effort involving the Kansas City physician community provides patients a wonderful resource to help them fulfill their own health needs and personal requirements in caring for themselves, their families, and other loved ones," said Blake Williamson, M.D., senior medical director, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City. "We applaud these efforts. In this age of consumerism, we all need to be looking for ways to better serve our customers."

"Patients have a right to quality care from their health care professionals and the whole process ? from making appointments, to the visit, to billing ? should be patient-centered," said Rhonda Holman, vice president, Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City. "Asking patients to give their input is a great way to measure how well this is happening. Patients can then use the survey results to be more informed when making health care decisions."

"The Metropolitan Medical Society of Greater Kansas City is proud of the care Kansas City physicians give their patients, and we are pleased to offer ongoing educational opportunities to help practices score even better," said Jill Watson, executive director of the Metropolitan Medical Society of Greater Kansas City.

"We are excited that the Kansas City Aligning Forces for Quality community is involved with CHECKBOOK in this ground-breaking effort," said John Lumpkin, M.D., senior vice president and director of the Health Care Group for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "Collecting and reporting data publicly will help consumers make better health care decisions and engage doctors to use this information to improve the quality of care for their patients."

"UnitedHealthcare is delighted to be part of this collaborative initiative, and we are proud Kansas City and KCQIC are leading the nation in this pilot project," said Tony Sun, M.D., medical director, UnitedHealthcare Heartland States. "We work closely with physicians, hospitals and other stakeholders to learn about the breadth of experiences that will help shape the future of health care. Working with KCQIC is in perfect alignment with our commitment to use information to help people live healthier lives."

SOURCE Kansas City Quality Improvement Consortium
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