OBJECTIVES: Expert panels determined the public health goals of Healthy People 2000 subjectively. The present study examined whether data-driven benchmarks provide a better alternative.
METHODS: We developed the "pared-mean" method to define from data the best achievable health care practices. We calculated the pared-mean benchmark for screening mammography from the 1994 National Health Interview Survey, using the metropolitan statistical area as the "provider" unit. Beginning with the best-performing provider and adding providers in descending sequence, we established the minimum provider subset that included at least 10% of all women surveyed on this question. The pared-mean benchmark is then the proportion of women in this subset who received mammography.
RESULTS: The pared-mean benchmark for screening mammography was 71%, compared with the Healthy People 2000 goal of 60%.
CONCLUSIONS: For Healthy People 2010, benchmarks derived from data reflecting the best available care provide viable alternatives to consensus-derived targets. We are currently pursuing additional refinements to the data-driven pared-mean benchmark approach.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/jeroan_allison/16/