The issue of patient compliance with physician recommendations has always been a sticky one. But research shows that when physicians approach topics with their patients carefully, offer constructive and persuasive tools, and reminders or regular phone checks, they may have better luck getting their patients to understand the importance of getting it right.
"I don't think that there's any doctor who would dispute that these are important to get done and that you can get them done," Santa said.
Santa explains that Consumer Reports adapted its familiar scoring system of red, black, or grey bulls-eyes for each condition, diabetes or heart disease, in order to make more people aware that the data exists.
The system uses an "all-or-nothing" methodology, in which a physician practice could only get a certain numerical score if it achieved performance thresholds for each question in each disease category.
The Minnesota project is the second in a series under a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant to Consumers Reports to make data available on healthcare quality for consumers.
The first was a partnership with Massachusetts Health Quality Partners in which Consumer Reports revealed patient experience scores for 500 primary care physicians. The third and last one, to come early next year, will score providers in Wisconsin on the extent to which they provide appropriate preventive care.
Asked if consumers should care about this scoring system if they haven't been diagnosed with and are not at risk for diabetes or cardiovascular disease, Santa and Jim Chase, president of Minnesota Community Measurement say they should.
"Groups that have a tendency to do well do well across a number of measures," Chase says.