Patients would pay $2,607 more for hospital with extra quality star, study finds

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Many patients preferred to pay more to receive care from a provider with a better quality ranking in a Jan. 5 study published in Health Affairs.

The study involved 200 patients with hip or knee pain who were seen at an academic joint arthroplasty outpatient practice in the first five months of 2018. Researchers analyzed data on the trade-offs patients were willing to make in choosing a provider for a hypothetical total joint replacement.

Patients were willing to pay an extra $2,607 for a hospital with an additional quality star and $3,152 more for a physician with an extra star, on a five-star scale. 

Researchers found patients were also willing to pay an extra $11.45 to avoid traveling an extra mile for care. This trend was especially prevalent among older patients.

"Patients appear willing to accept significantly higher copayments for higher quality of care, and surgeon quality seems relatively more important than hospital quality," researchers concluded. "Further study is needed to understand the value and trust patients place in publicly reported hospital and surgeon quality ratings."

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