Benchmarking, public reporting, and pay-for-performance: A mixed-methods survey of California pediatric intensive care unit medical directors

JoAnne E Natale, Jill G Joseph, Ryan D. Honomichl, Lianna G. Bazanni, Kimie J. Kagawa, James P Marcin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


Objectives: We sought to assess the attitudes of pediatric intensive care unit medical directors in California regarding the need for, the validity of, and the potential impact of benchmarking, public reporting, and pay-for-performance on pediatric critical care. Design: Cross-sectional survey. Setting: Pediatric intensive care units in California. Subjects: Medical directors of pediatric intensive care units. Interventions: None. Measurements and Main Results: Self-administered questionnaire and a semi-structured phone interview from 16 pediatric intensive care unit medical directors. All data were anonymized before review. Standard methods for identifying and agreeing on themes in transcribed interviews were applied. Seventy-three percent of California pediatric intensive care unit medical directors agree that benchmarking improves patient outcomes but are undecided whether public reporting and pay-for-performance improve healthcare quality. They are wary of the validity of data used to generate these performance measures and are discouraged by the time and costs required to collect data for standard performance outcomes (severity-adjusted pediatric intensive care unit mortality). Leadership opinions appear potentially "dynamic" in multiple domains and across each of the measures assessed. Conclusions: Pediatric intensive care unit medical directors sometimes express contradictory opinions about the merits of shared benchmarking efforts and express concerns across a range of logistic, methodological, and policy issues. These findings raise fundamental questions about how to create clinical performance standards that facilitate quality improvement in the face of a seriously divided constituency. Further, we propose that pediatric intensive care unit medical directors play more active roles in the development, implementation, and communication of shared state-wide data collection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPediatric Critical Care Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2011



  • benchmarking
  • healthcare quality
  • pay-for-performance
  • pediatric critical care
  • public reporting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine

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