Cross sectional sudy of performance indicators for English PCT's: Testing construct validity and identifying explanatory variables

Celia Taylor, Richard Lilford

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    18 Citations (Scopus)


    BACKGROUND: The performance of Primary Care Trusts in England is assessed and published using a number of different performance indicators. Our study has two broad purposes. Firstly, to find out whether pairs of indicators that purport to measure similar aspects of quality are correlated (as would be expected if they are both valid measures of the same construct). Secondly, we wanted to find out whether broad (global) indicators correlated with any particular features of Primary Care Trusts, such as expenditure per capita. METHODS: Cross sectional quantitative analysis using data from six 2004/05 PCT performance indicators for 303 English Primary Care Trusts from four sources in the public domain: Star Rating, aggregated Quality and Outcomes Framework scores, Dr Foster mortality index, Dr Foster equity index (heart by-pass and hip replacements), NHS Litigation Authority Risk Management standards and Patient Satisfaction scores from the Star Ratings. Forward stepwise multiple regression analysis to determine the effect of Primary Care Trust characteristics on performance. RESULTS: Star Rating and Quality and Outcomes Framework total, both summary measures of global quality, were not correlated with each other (F = 0.66, p = 0.57). There were however positive correlations between Quality and Outcomes Framework total and patient satisfaction (r = 0.61, p <0.001) and between screening/'additional services' indicators on the Star Ratings and Quality and Outcomes Framework (F = 24, p <0.001). There was no correlation between different measures of access to services. Likewise we found no relationship between either Star Rating or Litigation Authority Standards and hospital mortality (F = 0.61, p = 0.61; F = 0.31, p = 0.73). CONCLUSION: Performance assessment in healthcare remains on the Government's agenda, with new core and developmental standards set to replace the Star Ratings in 2006. Yet the results of this analysis provide little evidence that the current indicators have sufficient construct validity to measure the underlying concept of quality, except when the specific area of screening is considered.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)81
    Number of pages1
    JournalBMC Health Services Research
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2006


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