New AHRQ white paper helps decisionmaking and consistency in public reporting
Research Activities, November 2011
AHRQ's new white paper, Methodological Considerations in Generating Provider Performance Scores, is intended to help Chartered Value Exchanges (CVEs) and other organizations involved in public reporting of health care provider performance information. The paper offers guidance on identifying the sequence of decisions involved in public reporting and the range of options for each of these decisions. The paper addresses decisions encountered when working on six key tasks: negotiating consensus on goals and value judgments of performance reporting; selecting the measures for evaluating provider performance; identifying data sources and aggregating performance data; checking data quality and completeness; computing provider-level performance scores; and creating reports. The paper also helps organizations involved in public reporting of health care provider performance information avoid the problem of inconsistent reports based on the same data.
Variances in methodological decisions by different organizations using the same exact data can produce divergent performance reports, thereby sending conflicting messages to patients and providers. AHRQ's new white paper helps users understand different types of measurement error, how sources of error may enter into the construction of provider performance scores, and how to mitigate or minimize the risk of misclassifying a provider. The paper also includes a summary of methodological decisions made by a sample of CVE stakeholders. Developed for AHRQ by Mark W. Friedberg, M.D., and Cheryl L. Damberg, Ph.D., of RAND Corporation, the white paper is intended to support ongoing dialogue on data and measurement decisions as the Nation contemplates the future of public reporting for consumers.