Comparing the Clinical Quality and Cost of Secondary Care in Academic Health Centers and in Community Hospitals

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This study analyzes data from hospitals in six states, including Massachusetts, to compare the cost and quality of secondary care for under-65, privately insured patients in Academic Health Centers (AHCs) and non-AHC or community hospitals. Six measures of clinical quality of care were chosen from “potentially avoidable adverse hospital outcomes” developed by the Healthcare Utilization Project (HCUP) of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The authors discuss the research finding in the context of changes in the market for health insurance, including the emergence of “consumer-driven” health insurance products. The study population is the most likely group to be enrolled in the emerging insurance products that encourage consumers to make health care choices on the basis of cost and quality information. The cost and quality measures used in the study are already availible to many privately insured consumers through webbased information tools provided both independently and in conjunction with the new insurance products.

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