Communicating hospital infection data to the public: a study of consumer responses and preferences

UMMS Affiliation

Meyers Primary Care Institute; Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatric Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Adult; Age Factors; Aged; Aged, 80 and over; *Communication; Consumer Health Information; *Consumer Satisfaction; Cross Infection; Cross-Sectional Studies; Educational Status; Female; Humans; Male; Massachusetts; Middle Aged; Qualitative Research; Quality Indicators, Health Care; Sex Factors


Health Services Research | Primary Care


There is growing interest in public reporting of health care performance data relating to healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). This study evaluated different approaches for reporting hospital-level comparative data on HAIs and the extent to which such data might influence hospital choice. Eight versions of a report were developed, varying whether data were consistent across indicators, whether data were presented in text or graphs, and whether confidence intervals were included. A report and a questionnaire were mailed to a randomly selected sample of local residents. Findings provide no evidence that consistency of indicators, data presentation, report format, or inclusion of confidence intervals significantly impacted consumers' understanding. More educated consumers reported greater understanding of the reports. Responses suggested that public reporting of comparative data on HAIs could influence hospital choice, but other factors including prior experience, reputation, physicians' recommendations, and insurance coverage are also influential. Most consumers understand information on HAIs when it is presented in a short, simple report, and most correctly select the best or worst hospital. Consumers may be influenced by such data, but other factors are likely to be as or more important.

DOI of Published Version



Am J Med Qual. 2009 Mar-Apr;24(2):108-15. Epub 2009 Feb 23. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

American journal of medical quality : the official journal of the American College of Medical Quality

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID