Health Care Management Science

, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 103–115

Alternative Methods to Examine Hospital Efficiency: Data Envelopment Analysis and Stochastic Frontier Analysis

  • Rowena Jacobs

DOI: 10.1023/A:1011453526849

Cite this article as:
Jacobs, R. Health Care Management Science (2001) 4: 103. doi:10.1023/A:1011453526849


There has been increasing interest in the ability of different methods to rank efficient hospitals over their inefficient counterparts. The UK Department of Health has used three cost indices to benchmark NHS hospitals (Trusts). This study uses the same dataset and compares the efficiency rankings from the cost indices with those obtained using Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) and Stochastic Frontier Analysis (SFA). The paper concludes that the methods each have particular strengths and weaknesses and potentially measure different aspects of efficiency. Several specifications should be used to develop ranges of inefficiency to act as signalling devices rather than point estimates. It is argued that differences in efficiency scores across different methods may be due to random “noise” and reflect data deficiencies. The conclusions concur with previous findings that there are not truly large efficiency differences between Trusts and savings from bringing up poorer performers would in fact be quite modest.

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rowena Jacobs
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Health EconomicsUniversity of York, HeslingtonYorkUK