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VOLUME 51 | NUMBER 6.1 | DECEMBER 2016


Indirect Standardization Matching: Assessing Specific Advantage and Risk Synergy

Objective: To develop a method to allow a hospital to compare its performance using its entire patient population to the outcomes of very similar patients treated elsewhere.

Data Sources/Setting: Medicare claims in orthopedics and common general, gynecologic, and urologic surgery from Illinois, New York, and Texas from 2004 to 2006.

Study Design: Using two example “focal” hospitals, each hospital's patients were matched to 10 very similar patients selected from 619 other hospitals.

Data Collection/Extraction Methods: All patients were used at each focal hospital, and we found the 10 closest matched patients from control hospitals with exactly the same principal procedure as each focal patient.

Principal Findings: We achieved exact matches on all procedures and very close matches for other patient characteristics for both hospitals. There were few to no differences between each hospital's patients and their matched control patients on most patient characteristics, yet large and significant differences were observed for mortality, failure-to-rescue, and cost.

Conclusion: Indirect standardization matching can produce fair audits of quality and cost, allowing for a comprehensive, transparent, and relevant assessment of all patients at a focal hospital. With this approach, hospitals will be better able to benchmark their performance and determine where quality improvement is most needed.

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