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Statistical and Clinical Aspects of Hospital Outcomes Profiling

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      Abstract

      Hospital profiling involves a comparison of a health care provider's structure, processes of care, or outcomes to a standard, often in the form of a report card. Given the ubiquity of report cards and similar consumer ratings in contemporary American culture, it is notable that these are a relatively recent phenomenon in health care. Prior to the 1986 release of Medicare hospital outcome data, little such information was publicly available. We review the historical evolution of hospital profiling with special emphasis on outcomes; present a detailed history of cardiac surgery report cards, the paradigm for modern provider profiling; discuss the potential unintended negative consequences of public report cards; and describe various statistical methodologies for quantifying the relative performance of cardiac surgery programs. Outstanding statistical issues are also described.

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        Small Area Variations in Health Care Delivery: A population-based health information system can guide planning and regulatory decision-making

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          Small-area variations in the use of common surgical procedures: an international comparison of New England, England, and Norway.

          We examined the incidence of seven common surgical procedures in seven hospital service areas in southern Norway, in 21 districts in the West Midlands of the United Kingdom, and in the 18 most heavily populated hospital service areas in Vermont, Maine, and Rhode Island. Although surgical rates were higher in the New England states than in the United Kingdom or Norway, there was no greater degree of variability in the rates of surgery among the service areas within the three New England states. Hernia repair was more variable in England (P less than 0.05) and hysterectomy in Norway (P less than 0.05) than in the other countries. There was consistency among countries in the rank order of variability for most procedures: tonsillectomy, hemorrhoidectomy, hysterectomy, and prostatectomy varied more from area to area than did appendectomy, hernia repair, or cholecystectomy. The degree of variation generally appeared to be more characteristic of the procedure than of the country in which it was performed. Thus, differences among countries in the methods of organizing and financing care appear to have little relation to the intrinsic variability in the incidence of common surgical procedures among hospital service areas in these countries. Despite the differences in average rates of use, the degrees of controversy and uncertainty concerning the indications for these procedures seem to be similar among clinicians in all three countries.
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            Journal
            25 October 2007
            0710.4622 10.1214/088342307000000096
            Custom metadata
            IMS-STS-STS230
            Statistical Science 2007, Vol. 22, No. 2, 206-226
            Published in at http://dx.doi.org/10.1214/088342307000000096 the Statistical Science (http://www.imstat.org/sts/) by the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (http://www.imstat.org)
            stat.ME
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            Methodology

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