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Effectiveness of public report cards for improving the quality of cardiac care: the EFFECT study: a randomized trial


Context — Publicly released report cards on hospital performance are increasingly common, but whether they are an effective method for improving quality of care remains uncertain.

Objective — To evaluate whether the public release of data on cardiac quality indicators effectively stimulates hospitals to undertake quality improvement activities that improve healthcare processes and patient outcomes.

Design, Setting, and Patients — Population-based cluster randomized trial (Enhanced Feedback for Effective Cardiac Treatment [EFFECT]) of 86 hospital corporations in Ontario, Canada, with patients admitted for acute myocardial infarction (AMI) or congestive heart failure (CHF).

Intervention — Participating hospital corporations were randomized to early (January 2004) or delayed (September 2005) feedback of a public report card on their baseline performance (between April 1999 and March 2001) on a set of 12 process-of-care indicators for AMI and 6 for CHF. Follow-up performance data (between April 2004 and March 2005) also were collected.

Main Outcome Measures — The coprimary outcomes were composite AMI and CHF indicators based on 12 AMI and 6 CHF process-of-care indicators. Secondary outcomes were the individual process-of-care indicators, a hospital report card impact survey, and all-cause AMI and CHF mortality.

Results — The publication of the early feedback hospital report card did not result in a significant systemwide improvement in the early feedback group in either the composite AMI process-of-care indicator (absolute change, 1.5%; 95% confidence interval [CI], -2.2% to 5.1%; P = .43) or the composite CHF process-of-care indicator (absolute change, 0.6%; 95% CI, -4.5% to 5.7%; P = .81). During the follow-up period, the mean 30-day AMI mortality rates were 2.5% lower (95% CI, 0.1% to 4.9%; P = .045) in the early feedback group compared with the delayed feedback group. The hospital mortality rates for CHF were not significantly different.

Conclusion — Public release of hospital-specific quality indicators did not significantly improve composite process-of-care indicators for AMI or CHF.



Tu JV, Donovan LR, Lee DS, Wang JT, Austin PC, Alter DA, Ko DT. JAMA. 2009; 302(21):2330-7. Epub 2009 Nov 18.

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