Physicians at odds with AHRQ quality indicator when assessing preventable admissions, study finds

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's Prevention Quality Indicator failed to identify a large swath of preventable admissions, according to a new study published by the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

For the study, researchers compared the rate of preventable admissions as determined by the PQI tool with the rate established by physicians. Among 322 admissions from Dec. 1 through Dec. 15, 2013, 38 percent were considered preventable by physicians. In contrast, the PQI recognized only 23 percent of total admissions as preventable. There was only a 10 percent overlap where the PQI and the physicians agreed on preventability.

As pay-for-performance programs increase in healthcare, standardized metrics indicative of care quality must be established. The study's authors assert that physician assessment methods recognize more preventable admissions, but these methods cannot be easily standardized for comparison with other hospitals. The study's results suggest that the PQI tool requires further examination before it is utilized in pay-for-performance programs.

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