Mass. primary care experience improves

BY Emily Micucci

Barbra Rabson, president and CEO of Massachusetts Health Quality Partners, said improvements in patient care experience are encouraging as the healthcare industry struggles with an uncertain policy environment.

Massachusetts primary care providers are making strides in improving the healthcare experience for commercially-insured patients, according to results of an annual survey measuring patient experience released Wednesday.
Adult and pediatric patient experiences have improved over the last three years across all topic areas included in the survey, according to Massachusetts Health Quality Partners, the independent healthcare measurement and reporting organization that conducted the survey. Among the several areas measured were communication; care integration; knowledge of patient; office staff; and adult behavioral health.
Communication continued to be the strongest area of primary care performance, with providers generating a mean composite score of 94 out of 100 for the last three years. Other strong areas included a patient’s willingness to recommend a provider (91); provider knowledge of a patient (88) and office staff performance (88).
The strongest gains were made in screening adult patients for behavioral health problems, according to MHQP. The organization added this component to the survey in 2013, asking patients whether providers questioned them about feeling depressed, stressed, or experience problems with additional, for example. The mean score in this area increased from 50.8 in 2013 to 61.7 in 2017, the organization said.
Full results are available at, using a search tool based on zip code.
Barbra Rabson, president and CEO of MHQP, said the 2017 results are encouraging.
“Positive and constructive relationships between patients and primary care providers are key components of the quality and value we seek for healthcare in Massachusetts,” Rabson said in a statement.
The positive momentum comes as shifting healthcare policy is driving up uncertainty among healthcare providers, MHQP’s incoming board chairman James Roosevelt said in the statement.
“The plethora of policy issues currently disrupting our healthcare system do not appear to have impacted individual patient experiences, at least not for the commercially-insured population,” Roosevelt said. “It will be interesting to see how this evolves now that we have achieved essentially universal healthcare coverage in our state.”