Choosing a Comparator for Health Care Quality Scores

One of the most important decisions you will make is choosing the “comparator,” i.e., the level of performance against which you are assessing each health plan or provider in your report. When you set a comparator, you are essentially signaling to consumers what they should expect from the health care system. Many people do not realize that quality varies and that performance is sometimes poor in absolute terms.[1] (Learn more about The Problems With Health Care Quality). Your choice of a comparator can communicate and reinforce this message.

This section discusses the following options:

You may choose to display more than one comparison, or make more than one comparison available for your audience to choose.

[1] McGlynn EA, Asch SM, Adams J, Keesey J, Hicks J, DeCristofaro A, Kerr EA. The quality of health care delivered to adults in the United States. N Engl J Med 2003 Jun 26;348(26):2635-45.

Also in "Choosing a Point of Comparison"

Page last reviewed March 2016
Page originally created February 2015
Internet Citation: Choosing a Comparator for Health Care Quality Scores. Content last reviewed March 2016. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.
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