Benchmarking with Spine Tango: Potentials and pitfalls
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The newly released online statistics function of Spine Tango allows comparison of own data against the aggregated results of the data pool that all other participants generate. This comparison can be considered a very simple way of benchmarking, which means that the quality of what one organization does is compared with other similar organizations. The goal is to make changes towards better practice if benchmarking shows inferior results compared with the pool. There are, however, pitfalls in this simplified way of comparing data that can result in confounding. This means that important influential factors can make results appear better or worse than they are in reality and these factors can only be identified and neutralized in a multiple regression analysis performed by a statistical expert. Comparing input variables, confounding is less of a problem than comparing outcome variables. Therefore, the potentials and limitations of automated online comparisons need to be considered when interpreting the results of the benchmarking procedure. © 2009 Springer-Verlag.
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