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Hospitals, health systems, and providers now have access to a free tool to detect inappropriate hospital admissions for diabetes and other illnesses. Created by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the tool allows users to measure and track hospital admissions for uncontrolled diabetes and 15 other conditions using their own hospital discharge data.
According to federal data from the Department of Health and Human Services, 7.2 hospital admissions per every 10,000 people ages 18-64 in the United States are for uncontrolled diabetes. Officials want that to decline to 5.4 per 10,000 people by 2010.
The Prevention Quality Indicators represent hospital admission rates for common condition that also include bacterial pneumonia; pediatric gastroenteritis; urinary infections; congestive heart failure; and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which if adequately treated by primary care providers, generally do not require hospital inpatient care. The rates are population based and adjusted for age and sex.
The AHRQ Prevention Quality Indicators can be used to answer a wide array of questions regarding the quality of primary care in a community or region. For example, if a state health department or hospital association wants to know the quality of primary care provided to people in the state for a condition such as diabetes, officials would select the AHRQ Prevention Quality Indicators for that illness and use them to measure their state’s hospital discharge data on admissions for diabetes. They would then compare these admission rates for communities within their state with benchmarks such as their state average or national and regional averages that will be available AHRQ’s HCUPnet (www.ahrq.gov/data/hcup/hcupnet.htm).
Upcoming additions to the AHRQ Quality Indicators include the Inpatient Quality Indicators, a set of 29 provider- and area-level indicators relating to utilization, mortality and volume, and the Patient Safety Indicators, a set of indicators that provides information on potential in hospital complications and patient safety concerns following surgeries, other procedures and childbirth. The Patient Safety Indicators are expected later in 2002.
To download the Prevention Quality Indicators and accompanying software, go to www.ahrq.gov/data/hcup/prevqi.htm. Users must access the SAS statistical software package to run the programs, which they will then have to apply to their own databases that contain information on hospital discharges.