Provide Intermediaries To Help Consumers Use Quality Information

Many Americans do not like to make decisions based on what they see in writing from someone they don't know. They want to get information and recommendations from someone they know and trust. National surveys conducted since 1996 have consistently found that consumers are most likely to rely on the advice of their doctors, friends, and family when choosing health plans and providers.[1]

Surveys have also found that consumers rely on and have confidence in information provided by personal providers, family, friends and neighbors, and leaders of faith-based organizations and community groups.[2]

While a report card sponsor cannot replace a trusted friend or relative, one critical resource you may be able to provide is access to an informed individual who can answer users’ questions, address their concerns, and help them apply information on health care quality to their personal situations. In addition to providing a more personal interpretation, this "information intermediary" can help legitimize the value and accuracy of the report, clarify things that are confusing, and support people in applying the information in their own lives. This approach takes time and resources, but it has great potential, especially if your audience is hard to reach.

[1] Kaiser Family Foundation. 2008 Update on Consumers' Views of Patient Safety and Quality Information. 2008 October 15. Available at Accessed March 19, 2009.
[2] Berry S, Spranca M, Brown J. Consumers and health care quality information: need, availability, utility. Oakland (CA). California HealthCare Foundation. 2001. Available at Accessed March 19, 2009.

Also in "Supporting Consumers in Using the Information"

Page last reviewed November 2018
Page originally created February 2015
Internet Citation: Provide Intermediaries To Help Consumers Use Quality Information. Content last reviewed November 2018. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.
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