Case Studies

From multi-year task orders with a team of subcontractors to smaller-scale individual research efforts, L&M has led dozens of research projects from government agencies, as well as private clients.


Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), September 2008 – February 2009

Objective

Assist CMS in integrating quality information related to hospital readmission rates into the Hospital Compare Web tool.

Challenges

The team was tasked with developing concise, consumer-friendly explanations and displays of highly technical information. Health care quality measures are often difficult for consumers to understand and use, but the complexity of the readmission measures, which rely on a complicated risk adjustment methodology, heightened the challenge.

Approach

With input from CMS and a panel of experts, L&M drew on its technical expertise in health care quality and plain language communications to develop language and paper-based mockups of hospital readmission information. The mockups were consumer tested using one-on-one cognitive interviews to assess participants’ comprehension of and reaction to the information. During the second phase, L&M oversaw the development of a Web-based prototype incorporating revised language and displays, which was tested with both consumers and clinicians. Based on the research, L&M developed screen-by-screen recommendations for integrating the readmission information into the Web tool. The team then hosted a call with CMS staff and contractors to discuss how to fine-tune the recommendations to balance CMS’s policy, communications, and technology needs for the integration.


Results

Our Team:

  • Optimized consumer understanding of the readmissions measures while ensuring the technical accuracy of the information throughout the textual descriptions and graphical displays
  • Enhanced consumer interpretation by developing measure descriptions and supporting information based on participant reactions to the information
  • Assisted CMS in appropriately layering the information on the site so that users are introduced to increasingly detailed explanations of the measures as they seek additional information within the Web tool