Can Quality Reports Help Address Health Care Disparities?: Use and Awareness of Comparative Quality Information by African Americans


Comparative quality information (CQInfo) might help ameliorate racial disparities in health care. However, barriers such as low literacy and non-representative materials may make African Americans less likely than Whites to use CQInfo, thus diminishing its effect. Therefore, this analysis sought to evaluate racial differences in awareness and use of CQInfo using a national, random digit dial telephone survey. Results show that African Americans were less likely than Whites to have seen CQInfo concerning hospitals and doctors (not health plans), but were not less likely to have used it. Conditional on awareness, African Americans were more likely than Whites to have used this information. In logistic regressions controlling for other demographic characteristics, racial differences in awareness remained marginally significant statistically and differences in conditional use disappeared. Findings suggest a demand for CQInfo among African Americans, and support the idea that such information could help ameliorate racial disparities, if efforts also address educational and other related barriers.