As health care organizations look for ways to ensure cost-effective, high quality service delivery while still meeting patient needs, organizational performance assessment (OPA) is useful in focusing improvement efforts. In addition, organizational performance assessment is essential for ongoing management decision-making, operational effectiveness and strategy formulation. In this paper, the roles and impact of OPA models in use in health care are reviewed, and areas of potential abuse, such as myopia, tunnel vision and gaming, are identified. The review shows that most existing OPA models were developed primarily as sources of information for purchasers or consumers, or to enable providers to identify areas for improvement. However, there was little conclusive evidence evaluating their impact. This review of existing OPA models enabled the establishment of principles for the development, implementation and prevention of abuse of OPA specific to health care. The OPA models currently in use in health care may provide managers with false confidence in their ability to monitor organizational performance. To further enhance the field of OPA, areas for future research are identified.