Texas Hospitals' Perspectives About NICU Performance Measures: A Mixed-Methods Study

Qual Manag Health Care. 2023 Jan-Mar;32(1):8-15. doi: 10.1097/QMH.0000000000000347. Epub 2022 Apr 4.


Background and objectives: This study was conducted to assess Texas hospital leaders' perspectives about neonatal intensive care (NICU) performance measures.

Methods: We conducted an explanatory mixed-methods study. First, we sent a survey and a copy of the Dartmouth Atlas of Neonatal Intensive Care to clinical and administrative leaders of 150 NICUs in Texas. We asked respondents to review the chapter that reported Texas-specific results and respond to a variety of open and closed-ended questions about the overall usefulness of the report. Second, we conducted semistructured qualitative interviews with a subset of survey respondents to better understand their perspectives.

Results: The survey had a 50% hospital response rate. Respondents generally found the report to be interesting and useful, and 87.7% of all respondents reported being in favor of receiving future reports with their own hospital's data benchmarked against anonymous peers. All of the specific measures in the Atlas were found to be of interest and valuable, with NICU admissions and special care days rating among the most interesting and useful. In the semistructured interviews, respondents expressed that a report with performance data would serve as a mechanism to drive change by identifying opportunities for improvement.

Conclusion: Texas hospital NICU leaders are interested in routinely receiving more information about their own NICU's performance anonymously benchmarked against their peers. This would facilitate a greater understanding of a unit's functionality, as well as accelerate clinically appropriate quality improvement initiatives, which together have the potential to deliver better newborn care at lower costs for all Texans.

MeSH terms

  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal*
  • Intensive Care, Neonatal*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Texas