Media Contacts

Melinda Rogers

Communications Specialist, University of Utah Health Sciences Office of Public Affairs
Email: melinda.rogers@hsc.utah.edu

Jun 02, 2014 4:32 PM

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(Salt Lake City) —University of Utah Health Care is held up in the June edition of Harvard Business Review as an example of a health care system embracing new transparency efforts as a way to better involve physicians in the challenging process of overhauling health care to better deliver what patients need.

University of Utah Health Care is one of several prestigious health care systems featured in the article by Thomas H. Lee and Toby Cosgrove, titled “Engaging Doctors in the Health Care Revolution.” The article discusses how physicians can help propel health care transformation as the world moves from a fee-based approach to service to a broader team-based approach in patient care.

Harvard Business Review cites the University of Utah Health Care’s efforts as the first hospital system in the country to post online physician reviews and comments, a venture launched in 2012. The initiative allowed providers to receive their patient-experience data privately and opened the door to conversations with supervisors about how to make improvements. The data was then shared internally, and other physicians could compare their performance and ratings to colleagues. Eventually, the concept evolved online, where patients can now publicly review a physician’s report card on http://healthcare.utah.edu.

“With each escalation in transparency, overall performance improved,” the Harvard Business Review article states. “One Key to Utah’s success with the program, we believe, was its gradual introduction, which allowed physicians to acclimate at each step.”

University of Utah Health Care watched web traffic to its online physician profiles skyrocket after implementing online physician reviews, analytics show. The most recent numbers, from March 2014, show page views to University of Utah Health Care physician profiles totaled 122,072 —a dramatic increase from the 32,144 page reviews tallied before the system’s effort to publish online physician reviews and comments had been fully adopted. The surge in web traffic is a strong indicator that patients and consumers appreciate the transparency and additional information that online reviews can bring, said Thomas Miller, M.D., chief medical officer at University of Utah Health Care.

“It’s evident patients and consumers making health care decisions want online access to trusted reviews from other community members. As the first health care system in the country to recognize that need, we’re happy that more than a year into the process we are a leader in developing a system that allows patients to learn more about our physicians through online reviews,” said Miller. ”The ratings give visitors a powerful tool to make informed decisions about our physicians, providers and entire health care system.” 

University of Utah Health Care uses data from more than 40,000 patient surveys to rate its physicians on nine measures using a five-star system —similar to ranking systems used on consumer web sites like Angie’s List, Yelp and Health Grades. Patients are e-mailed an electronic survey within a few days following their medical appointment and are asked to complete questions about the care they received and are also allowed the opportunity to provided specific comments. Feedback is posted to the web site, but is also used to improve all areas of patients’ clinical experiences. More than 50,000 patients responded to the surveys in the first year.

Other health care systems across the country have consulted with University of Utah Health Care about lessons learned while adapting their own respective models of online physician reviews, said Brian Gresh, senior director of interactive marketing and web at University of Utah Health Care.

Gresh noted 99 percent of comments are posted online unedited, and are only removed in the event that a comment might compromise patient privacy information or could be considered legally libelous.The health system’s patient satisfaction survey is currently administered by Press Ganey, an Indiana-based company that provides research and business consulting for more than 50 percent of the hospitals in the United States. 

Besides University of Utah Health Care, other prominent initiatives are featured in this month’s Harvard Business Review article about physician engagement strategies currently underway at the Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Ascension Health in St. Louis.

To read the full article, visit: http://hbr.org/2014/06/engaging-doctors-in-the-health-care-revolution/ar/1.