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Process measures or patient reported experience measures (PREMs) for comparing performance across providers? A study of measures related to access and continuity in Swedish primary care

  • Anna H. Glenngård (a1) (a2) and Anders Anell (a1)

Abstract

Aim

To study (a) the covariation between patient reported experience measures (PREMs) and registered process measures of access and continuity when ranking providers in a primary care setting, and (b) whether registered process measures or PREMs provided more or less information about potential linkages between levels of access and continuity and explaining variables.

Background

Access and continuity are important objectives in primary care. They can be measured through registered process measures or PREMs. These measures do not necessarily converge in terms of outcomes. Patient views are affected by factors not necessarily reflecting quality of services. Results from surveys are often uncertain due to low response rates, particularly in vulnerable groups. The quality of process measures, on the other hand, may be influenced by registration practices and are often more easy to manipulate. With increased transparency and use of quality measures for management and governance purposes, knowledge about the pros and cons of using different measures to assess the performance across providers are important.

Methods

Four regression models were developed with registered process measures and PREMs of access and continuity as dependent variables. Independent variables were characteristics of providers as well as geographical location and degree of competition facing providers. Data were taken from two large Swedish county councils.

Findings

Although ranking of providers is sensitive to the measure used, the results suggest that providers performing well with respect to one measure also tended to perform well with respect to the other. As process measures are easier and quicker to collect they may be looked upon as the preferred option. PREMs were better than process measures when exploring factors that contributed to variation in performance across providers in our study; however, if the purpose of comparison is continuous learning and development of services, a combination of PREMs and registered measures may be the preferred option. Above all, our findings points towards the importance of a pre-analysis of the measures in use; to explore the pros and cons if measures are used for different purposes before they are put into practice.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Correspondence to: Anna H. Glenngård, Lund University School of Economics and Management, Box 7080, 22007 Lund, Sweden. Email: anna.glenngard@fek.lu.se

References

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Supplementary materials

Glenngård and Anell supplementary material
Appendices 1-2

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