Grant to Study Consumer Preferences Around Decisions for Hospice Care

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Altarum Institute’s Center for Consumer Choice in Health Care (CCCHC) has been award a one-year $328,000 grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to study consumer preferences related to quality measures for hospice care during challenging
end-of-life transitions. CCCHC is partnering with the American Hospice Foundation to conduct this work.

This will be the first study of its kind to assess consumer sentiment about the quality measures for hospice care approved by the National Quality Forum, and to explore the value of incorporating consumer preferences into displays of health care quality data. The study will examine how consumers understand and interpret approved quality measures, identify where additional education about hospice and hospice quality may be necessary, and test whether ease-of-use ratings and confidence in provider choice are enhanced by the incorporation of consumer preference into report card presentations of health care quality data.

The work of CCCHC will focus on whether consumers understand these measures, how to improve the way quality measures to consumers are presented and to figure out if, given the information they are receiving, consumers are more comfortable with the choices they make.

Each year, roughly 1.5 million Americans will spend their final months or weeks of life in hospice care. Currently, family and caregivers facing this decision have access to few or no quality data to help inform their choices. Little is known about what consumers look for when reviewing hospice data and how personal preferences may impact the way consumers interact with hospice quality information.

“Consumers of hospice care need reliable quality data to help them select the hospice options for themselves or their loved ones
during what is a very difficult time,” said Brad Smith, co-director of CCCHC. “Knowing they have access to high quality and meaningful data on hospice quality will be one less thing for them to be concerned about.”

“Quality measures endorsed by the National Quality Forum are already used by many hospice providers for internal management purposes,” said Naomi Naierman, president and CEO of American Hospice Foundation, “but that information is not yet available to the public to enable informed consumer choice.”

Altarum Institute ( integrates objective research and client-centered consulting skills to deliver comprehensive, systems-based solutions that improve health and health care. Altarum employs more than 400 individuals and is headquartered in Ann Arbor, Mich., with additional offices in the Washington, D.C., area; Atlanta, Ga.; Portland, Maine; and San Antonio, Texas.

Posted in: Hospice

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