Can Composite Measures Provide a Different Perspective on Provider Performance Than Individual Measures?

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Abstract

Background:

Composite measures, which aggregate performance on individual measures into a summary score, are increasingly being used to evaluate facility performance. There is little understanding of the unique perspective that composite measures provide.

Objective:

To examine whether high/low (ie, high or low) performers on a composite measures are also high/low performers on most of the individual measures that comprise the composite.

Methods:

We used data from 2 previous studies, one involving 5 measures from 632 hospitals and one involving 28 measures from 112 Veterans Health Administration (VA) nursing homes; and new data on hospital readmissions for 3 conditions from 131 VA hospitals. To compare high/low performers on a composite to high/low performers on the component measures, we used 2-dimensional tables to categorize facilities into high/low performance on the composite and on the individual component measures.

Results:

In the first study, over a third of the 162 hospitals in the top quintile based on the composite were in the top quintile on at most 1 of the 5 individual measures. In the second study, over 40% of the 27 high-performing nursing homes on the composite were high performers on 8 or fewer of the 28 individual measures. In the third study, 20% of the 61 low performers on the composite were low performers on only 1 of the 3 individual measures.

Conclusions:

Composite measures can identify as high/low performers facilities that perform “pretty well” (or “pretty poorly”) across many individual measures but may not be high/low performers on most of them.

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