Capturing Consumers' Attention

Health care consumers are often unaware of public reporting efforts or uninterested in using the information that survey sponsors provide. Research conducted by the CAHPS team suggests some strategies to capture the attention of consumers.

To learn more, go to Promote Your Report in AHRQ’s TalkingQuality Web site.

Provide the information at the time when people are most likely to use it. For example, provide the results of the Health Plan Survey or the Clinician & Group Survey during an enrollment period when employees may be making a new decision about their health care. Or you can provide survey results to people who are new to a job or new to a geographic area—times when they need to make a decision about care.

Suggest examining CAHPS survey results alongside usual sources of information. Research has shown that people incorporate new activities or look at new information if it complements other common activities or information. For example, suggest looking at CAHPS information as well as talking with family members or friends to make decisions about health care.

Focus on differences in care. To increase consumers’ interest, reports must attract consumers’ attention, and the reports must be sufficiently interesting that consumers want to read them. In both promotional content and the report itself, point out specific differences in the survey results, such as differences in how quickly people receive care or differences in communication. Emphasizing how to avoid poor care may be effective: Research shows that people are more likely to act on information to avoid a negative situation. Consumers do not often recognize differences in quality of care, so highlighting important differences can increase their interest in publicly reported information.

Keep the information simple. Reports should be short and easy to understand. Alternatively, if the report has a large amount of information, make it easy for people to get to the information they care about. For more information on making quality reports easy to read, refer to Tips on Writing a Quality Report in AHRQ’s TalkingQuality Web site.

Help users make the link between the “data” and people like themselves. People often trust families and friends when making a decision about a health plan or doctor. When they understand that the people who answered the survey are from the same community, consumers will be more likely to view the CAHPS survey results as just another source of information, similar to what they learn from their friends or family.

Describe how the information should be used and why it is important. Briefly describing to consumers how CAHPS information can help them make a decision will increase consumers’ appreciation of the report’s value.

Related Resources

How to Maximize Public Awareness and Use of Comparative Quality Reports Through Effective Promotion and Dissemination Strategies from AHRQ

Getting Tools Used from the Center for Advancing Health

Consumer Decision Points in Accessing Comparative Health Care Information from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Page last reviewed March 2016
Page originally created June 2013
Internet Citation: Capturing Consumers' Attention. Content last reviewed March 2016. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/cahps/consumer-reporting/guidelines/attention/index.html