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Comparative Quality Indicators for Hospital Choice: Do General Practitioners Care?


  • Marie Ferrua
  • Claude Sicotte
  • Benoît Lalloué
  • Etienne Minvielle


Context: The strategy of publicly reporting quality indicators is being widely promoted through public policies as a way to make health care delivery more efficient. Objective: To assess general practitioners’ (GPs) use of the comparative hospital quality indicators made available by public services and the media, as well as GPs’ perceptions of their qualities and usefulness. Method: A telephone survey of a random sample representing all self-employed GPs in private practice in France. Results: A large majority (84.1%–88.5%) of respondents (n = 503; response rate of 56%) reported that they never used public comparative indicators, available in the mass media or on government and non-government Internet sites, to influence their patients’ hospital choices. The vast majority of GPs rely mostly on traditional sources of information when choosing a hospital. At the same time, this study highlights favourable opinions shared by a large proportion of GPs regarding several aspects of hospital quality indicators, such as their good qualities and usefulness for other purposes. In sum, the results show that GPs make very limited use of hospital quality indicators based on a consumer choice paradigm but, at the same time, see them as useful in ways corresponding more to the usual professional paradigms, including as a means to improve quality of care.

Suggested Citation

  • Marie Ferrua & Claude Sicotte & Benoît Lalloué & Etienne Minvielle, 2016. "Comparative Quality Indicators for Hospital Choice: Do General Practitioners Care?," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 11(2), pages 1-9, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:plo:pone00:0147296
    DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0147296

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dourgnon, Paul & Naiditch, Michel, 2010. "The preferred doctor scheme: A political reading of a French experiment of Gate-keeping," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 94(2), pages 129-134, February.
    2. Lega, Federico & DePietro, Carlo, 2005. "Converging patterns in hospital organization: beyond the professional bureaucracy," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 74(3), pages 261-281, November.
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    4. Vrangbã†K, Karsten & ØStergren, Katarina & Birk, Hans Okkels & Winblad, Ulrika, 2007. "Patient reactions to hospital choice in Norway, Denmark, and Sweden," Health Economics, Policy and Law, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(2), pages 125-152, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Geraedts, Max & Hermeling, Peter & Ortwein, Annette & de Cruppé, Werner, 2018. "Public reporting of hospital quality data: What do referring physicians want to know?," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 122(11), pages 1177-1182.
    2. Schuldt, Johannes & Doktor, Anna & Lichters, Marcel & Vogt, Bodo & Robra, Bernt-Peter, 2017. "Insurees’ preferences in hospital choice—A population-based study," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 121(10), pages 1040-1046.

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