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Popul Health Manag. 2018 Oct;21(5):378-386. doi: 10.1089/pop.2017.0137. Epub 2018 Jan 3.

Public Reporting of Primary Care Clinic Quality: Accounting for Sociodemographic Factors in Risk Adjustment and Performance Comparison.

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1 Center for Care Organization Research and Development, Division of Health Policy and Management, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota , Minneapolis, Minnesota.
2 Children's Minnesota Research Institute , Minneapolis, Minnesota.
3 Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute , AllinaHealth, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
4 National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) School for Primary Care Research, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, University of Manchester , Manchester, England.


Performance measurement and public reporting are increasingly being used to compare clinic performance. Intended consequences include quality improvement, value-based payment, and consumer choice. Unintended consequences include reducing access for riskier patients and inappropriately labeling some clinics as poor performers, resulting in tampering with stable care processes. Two analytic steps are used to maximize intended and minimize unintended consequences. First, risk adjustment is used to reduce the impact of factors outside providers' control. Second, performance categorization is used to compare clinic performance using risk-adjusted measures. This paper examines the effects of methodological choices, such as risk adjusting for sociodemographic factors in risk adjustment and accounting for patients clustering by clinics in performance categorization, on clinic performance comparison for diabetes care, vascular care, asthma, and colorectal cancer screening. The population includes all patients with commercial and public insurance served by clinics in Minnesota. Although risk adjusting for sociodemographic factors has a significant effect on quality, it does not explain much of the variation in quality. In contrast, taking into account the nesting of patients within clinics in performance categorization has a substantial effect on performance comparison.


asthma quality; clinic performance comparison; clinic risk adjustment; colorectal cancer screening; diabetes quality; vascular quality

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