Background: The measurement of healthcare provider performance is becoming more widespread. Physicians have been guarded about performance measurement, in part because the methodology for comparative measurement of care quality is underdeveloped. Comprehensive quality improvement will require comprehensive measurement, implying the aggregation of multiple quality metrics into composite indicators.
Objective: To present a conceptual framework to develop comprehensive, robust, and transparent composite indicators of pediatric care quality, and to highlight aspects specific to quality measurement in children.
Methods: We reviewed the scientific literature on composite indicator development, health systems, and quality measurement in the pediatric healthcare setting. Frameworks were selected for explicitness and applicability to a hospital-based measurement system.
Results: We synthesized various frameworks into a comprehensive model for the development of composite indicators of quality of care. Among its key premises, the model proposes identifying structural, process, and outcome metrics for each of the Institute of Medicine's six domains of quality (safety, effectiveness, efficiency, patient-centeredness, timeliness, and equity) and presents a step-by-step framework for embedding the quality of care measurement model into composite indicator development.
Conclusions: The framework presented offers researchers an explicit path to composite indicator development. Without a scientifically robust and comprehensive approach to measurement of the quality of healthcare, performance measurement will ultimately fail to achieve its quality improvement goals.