Consumers' descriptions of quality health care.
Consumer-oriented health care report cards have emerged as a strategy to disseminate information to consumers about the quality of health plans and relative costs, with the goal of enabling them to make informed choices. While consumers have reported an interest in having access to this information, how they actually define quality of care is not yet clear. Despite extensive research on defining and measuring health care quality, less attention has been given to consumers' perspectives of quality care. In this study, 239 consumers were interviewed using four open-ended questions on their descriptions of quality health care and quality nursing care. Consumers described quality health care in terms of access to care (n = 143), followed by having competent and skilled providers (n = 104) and receiving the proper treatment (n = 100). Consumers defined quality nursing care as having nurses who were concerned about them and demonstrated caring behaviors (n = 148), were competent and skilled (n = 115), communicated effectively with them (n = 99), and taught them about their care (n = 97).
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