RAND Study Slammed

Do Americans receive only 55% of recommended care when they see physicians? David McKalip disputed this RAND study finding in a previous post. Here is another response:

That study was supposed to be based on telephone interviews with 13,000 Americans in 12 metropolitan areas followed up by a review of each person’s medical records and then matched against 439 indicators of quality health practices. But two-thirds of the people contacted declined to participate, making the study biased, by RAND’s own admission. To make matters worse, RAND had incomplete medical records on many of those who participated and could not accurately document the care that these patients received.

For example, RAND found that only 15% of the patients had received a flu vaccine based on available medical records. But when asked directly, 85% of the patients said that they had been vaccinated. Most importantly, there were no data that indicated whether following the best practices defined by RAND’s experts made any difference in the health of the patients.

In March 2007, a team of Harvard researchers published a study in the New England Journal of Medicine that looked at nearly 10,000 patients at community health centers and assessed whether implementing similar quality measures would improve the health of patients with three costly disorders: diabetes, asthma and hypertension. It found that there was no improvement in any of these three maladies.

Comments (3)

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  1. Eloisa Munoz says:


  2. Ken says:

    Interesting. And certainly not typically Republican. Or typically Democrat, for that matter.

  3. Linda Gorman says:

    I think the flu shot inaccuracy provides some interesting illumination on the state of health care research.

    Given that lots of people get flu shots in the grocery store, why would anyone expect medical records to contain accurate information about flu shots?

    Sort of a “earth to researchers” moment.