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Measuring healthcare in terms of quality is a relatively new concept, one in which even the biggest payer in the country admits is a work in progress.
One initial lesson is that the word “quality” means different things, depending on whom you ask. In a recent survey of 374 new patients with early-stage breast cancer, for example, researchers discovered that the women’s idea of quality varied greatly from the medical definitions of the term used by hospitals, Reuters reported.
For the most part, the patients rated the care they got as of lower quality than their medical records indicated they received. In particular, just 55 percent said the care they received was “excellent,” although 88 percent actually got good-quality care according to medical guidelines, the study indicated. Among those who did rate their care as excellent, most also highly rated their process of getting care, as well as being treated well by medical staff.