We examine the effects of diverse dimensions of hospital quality - including consumers' perceptions of unobserved attributes - on future hospital choice. We utilize consumers' stated preference weights to obtain hospital-specific estimates of perceptions about unmeasured attributes such as reputation. We report three findings. First, consumers' perceptions of reputation and medical services contribute substantially to utility for a hospital choice. Second, consumers tend to select hospitals with high clinical quality scores even before the scores are publicized. However, the effect of clinical quality on hospital choice is relatively small. Third, satisfaction with a prior hospital admission has a large impact on future hospital choice. Our findings suggest that including measures of consumers' experience in report cards may increase their responsiveness to publicized information, but other strategies are needed to overcome the large effects of consumers' beliefs about other quality attributes.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This project was supported by grants 2 U18 HS13680 and 2 RO1 HS010730-04 from the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ) . The authors thank Donald Miller for assistance with data preparation. We are grateful to Richard Lindrooth and seminar participants at the Pennsylvania State University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Minnesota, and American Society of Health Economists and American Economic Association conferences for their helpful comments.
- Hospital choice
- Hospital quality
- Quality information
- Stated preference