Do Public Reports of Provider Performance Make Their Data and Methods Available and Accessible?

Published In: Medical Care Research and Review, v. 71, no. 5, Suppl., Oct. 2014, p. 81S-96S

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2013

by Cheryl L. Damberg, David Hyman, Julie France

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Research Question

  1. Are public websites that report provider performance transparent about the data and methods used to generate provider performance scores?

Public reports of provider performance are widespread and the methods used to generate the provider ratings differ across the sponsoring entities. We examined 115 hospital and 27 physician public reports to determine whether report sponsors made the methods used to score providers available and accessible. While nearly all websites made transparent some of the methods used to assess provider performance, we found substantial variation in the extent to which they fully adhered to recommended methods elements identified in the Consumer-Purchaser Disclosure Project's Patient Charter for performance reporting. Most public reports provided descriptions of the data sources, whether measures were endorsed, and the attribution approach. Least often made transparent were methods descriptions related to advanced provider review and reconsideration of results, reliability assessment, and case-mix adjustment. Future research should do more to identify the core elements that would lead consumer end users to have confidence in public reports.

Key Findings

  • Most websites describe some of the methods used to assess performance.
  • Transparency varies across sites, especially regarding how providers can review or correct results, how case mix adjustments are made, and how the reliability of measures is assessed.

Recommendation

  • Future research should identify the information consumers consider vital in order to understand how providers are being measured and scored.

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