Objective: To design and test a model of the factors that influence frontline and midlevel managers' perceptions of usefulness of comparative reports of hospital performance.
Study setting: A total of 344 frontline and midlevel managers with responsibility for stroke and medical cardiac patients in 89 acute care hospitals in the Canadian province of Ontario.
Study design: Fifty-nine percent of managers responded to a mail survey regarding managers' familiarity with a comparative report of hospital performance, ratings of the report's data quality, relevance and complexity, improvement culture of the organization, and perceptions of usefulness of the report.
Extraction methods: Exploratory factor analysis was performed to assess the dimensionality of performance data characteristics and improvement culture. Antecedents of perceived usefulness and the role of improvement culture as a moderator were tested using hierarchical regression analyses.
Principal findings: Both data characteristics variables including data quality, relevance, and report complexity, as well as organizational factors including dissemination intensity and improvement culture, explain significant amounts of variance in perceptions of usefulness of comparative reports of hospital performance. The total R2 for the full hierarchical regression model = .691. Improvement culture moderates the relationship between data relevance and perceived usefulness.
Conclusions: Organizations and those who fund and design performance reports need to recognize that both report characteristics and organizational context play an important role in determining line managers' response to and ability to use these types of data.