The systematic assessment of variations in medical practices and their outcomes.
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The systematic assessment of variations in medical practices and their outcomes.
  • Published Date:

    1995 Jan-Feb

  • Source:
    Public Health Rep. 110(1):2-12
  • Language:
Filetype[PDF-1.65 MB]

  • Alternative Title:
    Public Health Rep
  • Description:
    The Health Care Financing Administration of the Department of Health and Human Services has carried out for several years the systematic assessment of variations over time and among geographic locales in patterns of care and patterns of outcomes experienced by Medicare beneficiaries. This routine monitoring focuses principally on hospitalizations and their outcomes (death and readmission) and is based on the Medicare enrollment file and the claims file for inpatient care. The period 1985-88 has been marked by declining adjusted post-admission risks for mortality (down 4 percent) and readmission (down 6 percent) for Medicare beneficiaries. The downward trend in mortality risks is most evident following hospitalizations for acute myocardial infarction (down 8 percent) and stroke (down 12 percent). Hospital admission and population mortality rates, adjusted for differences in demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of the populations, vary substantially among areas as large as States and Metropolitan Statistical Areas, as do risk-adjusted post admission probabilities of death among those areas and among hospitals. Thus, if overall admission and mortality rates in the upper three quartiles of Metropolitan Statistical Areas were brought down to the average of the lowest quartile, there would be 20 percent fewer admissions and 12 percent fewer deaths within 180 days of admission for hospitalized patients. Although favorable trends in the effectiveness of the hospital care received by Medicare beneficiaries appear discernible, the existence of substantial variations suggests that further improvement may be possible.
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