Associations of CAHPS Composites With Global Ratings of the Doctor Vary by Medicare Beneficiaries’ Health Status

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Abstract

Research Objective:

Care coordination among health care providers is essential for high-quality care and it is strongly associated with overall ratings of doctors. Care coordination may be especially important for sicker and chronically ill patients because of the multiple providers involved in their care. This study examines whether the association of care coordination with global ratings of one’s personal doctor varies by number of chronic conditions and self-rated health.

Study Design:

We used nationally representative Medicare Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) survey data to evaluate care coordination, doctor communication, getting needed care, getting care quickly, count of 6 chronic conditions (angina, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, heart attack, stroke), self-rated general health (5-point scale, poor to excellent, scored linearly), and interactions among them as predictors of the CAHPS global rating of personal doctor (scored 0–100 with 100 being best possible personal doctor) using linear regression models. The analytic sample included 242,871 Medicare fee-for-service and managed care beneficiaries in 2013: 56% female; 14% 18–64, 47% 65–74, 27% 75–84, and 11% 85 and older; and 48% high school education or less.

Results:

The CAHPS composites (of care coordination, doctor communication, getting needed care, and getting care quickly) and number of chronic conditions were significantly positively associated with ratings of personal doctor (P<0.05). Care coordination and doctor communication had a stronger association with positive ratings of the personal doctor among those with worse self-rated health (P<0.001).

Discussion:

Results were consistent with the hypothesis that patients in worse health weigh care coordination more heavily in global physician assessments than patients in better health. Emphasis on improving care coordination, especially for patients in poorer health, may improve patients’ overall assessments of their providers. The study provides further evidence for the importance of care coordination experiences in the era of patient-centered care.

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