AHRQ Study Suggests New Metric for Assessing Care of Heart Failure Patients
Total inpatient days during a 30-day episode of care may provide a more accurate measurement of health system quality, resource use, and outcomes than 30-day readmission rates, according to authors of an AHRQ-funded study. The researchers compared hospitals based on length of stay, total inpatient days for episodes of care (all clinically related services for a patient’s condition from onset of symptoms until the completion of treatment, including readmissions within 30 days), and 30-day readmission rates for heart failure patients. The study, “Are We Targeting the Right Metric for Heart Failure? Comparison of Hospital 30-Day Readmission Rates and Total Episode of Care Inpatient Days,” found that the 30-day readmission rate was poorly correlated with hospital length of stay, better performance on quality measures, or 30-day mortality risk. In contrast, the shorter episode of care metric was associated with better 30-day survival. The study was published in the April 6 online edition of the American Heart Journal. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.