A process of care measure, also referred to as a core measure in the clinical community, shows how often hospitals give recommended treatments determined to get the best results for patients with certain medical conditions or surgical procedures. Information about these treatments are taken from the patients' records and converted into a percentage. This is one way to compare the quality of care that hospitals give.
The hospital process of care measures include:
The measures are based on scientific evidence about treatments that are known to get the best results. Health care experts and researchers are constantly evaluating the evidence to make sure that guidelines and measures are kept up-to-date. Sometimes, guidelines and measures are revised to reflect new evidence. The HQA expects to increase the number of measures and the types of conditions and treatments that hospitals will report over time. To see technical information about how the measures on this Web site are defined, see Information for Professionals on Data Collection.
"Outcome of Care Measures" show what happened after patients with certain conditions received hospital care. The death rates focus on whether patients died within 30 days of their hospitalization. The rates of readmission focus on whether patients were hospitalized again within 30 days. Death rates and rates of readmission show whether a hospital is doing its best to prevent complications, teach patients at discharge, and ensure patients make a smooth transition to their home or another setting such as a nursing home.
The hospital death rates and rates of readmission are based on people with Medicare who are 65 and older. These rates are calculated using Medicare enrollment and claims records, and a complex statistical procedure. The death rates and rates of readmission are "risk-adjusted" , meaning that the calculations take into account how sick patients were when they went in for their initial hospitalization. When the rates are risk-adjusted, it helps make comparisons fair and meaningful.