Care quality indicators often misleading

October 8, 2010

When looking for a new physician, patients are often encouraged to select those who are board-certified or who have not made payments on malpractice claims.

When looking for a new physician, patients often are encouraged to select those who are board-certified or who have not made payments on malpractice claims. These characteristics are not always good predictors of which physicians will provide the highest-quality medical care, however, according to a study from the RAND Corp. and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Studying 10,000 Massachusetts physicians' care of more than 1.3 million adults during 2004 and 2005, researchers found that 3 characteristics were associated with better-quality medical care: being female, being board-certified, and graduating from a domestic medical school, according to findings appearing in the September 13 edition of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The overall difference in quality among physicians studied, however, was small.

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