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What Are Patient Quality Indicators? Whether it’s an institutional setting or providing in-home services, health care providers must track and monitor statistics to make sure patients are safe. Most use measurements that are known under the umbrella term “quality patient indicators.” Quality patient indicators are useful when hospitals want to identify areas that need further investigation, correct them, and track their progress over time. How are they used to keep you or a loved one safe?
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Quality patient indicators are measures of health care used to gauge a provider’s performance. For both outpatient and inpatient services, these evidence-based indicators can help them identify variations in the quality of care they provide. Indicators provide a quantitative basis for clinicians, planners, and anyone guiding the processes that provide patient care.
Most quality patient indicators are different from standard metrics; these are raw numbers and statistics (e.g. the number of foreign objects accidentally left in patients after a medical procedure). Patient indicators put these metrics into context, expressing them in terms like ratios to provide healthcare workers with pragmatic goals (e.g. lowering the likelihood of leaving a foreign object in a patient).
Healthcare workers can use the quantitative measures to monitor and evaluate the quality of essential functions in a healthcare facility – from governance and management to the clinical and support staff. Quality patient indicators can help improve the quality of patient care, clinical support services, and organizational functions that affect outcomes.
There can be several types of quality patient indicators measuring different aspects of healthcare. Some of the standard areas include:
Prevention Quality Indicators (PQIs) are indicators that cover all cases of preventable complications that occur in a given population. They calculate admissions that could have been avoided through access to high-quality outpatient care, either during a hospitalization or in a subsequent hospitalization.
Inpatient Quality Indicators (IQIs) are indicators of the mortality, utilization, and volume related to hospital procedures. They help hospitals identify potential problem areas and trending initiatives. IQIs include inpatient mortality for surgical procedures and medical conditions, as well as to measure the potential for overused, underused, or misused procedures.
Patient Safety Indicators (PSIs) reflect any avoidable safety events that represent opportunities for improvement in care delivery.
Pediatric Quality Indicators (PDIs) are measures that, when combined with hospital inpatient discharge data, show how well the facility provides healthcare for very young patients.
“Quality” can mean different things in different settings, and understanding the needs of a facility requires many measurements. Whatever the purpose, quality patient indicators make it possible to document the administration of care, benchmark statistics over time, and support both workers and patients.
Hospital beds are a key metric used in quality patient indicators. The number of total hospital beds or the number of beds maintained, staffed and immediately available for use can indicate the resources available for delivering services to inpatients. These include curative care, rehabilitative care, long-term care, and other patient services.
Hospital beds help healthcare organizations improve their quality patient indicator benchmarks. One metric used in patient indicators is the rate at which patients fall and become injured during a hospital stay. Hospital beds can reduce these falls; caregivers can place the hospital bed in a low position when a patient is resting in bed and raise the bed to a comfortable height when transferring them out.
It’s not just institutional care, though. Home-based hospitalization (HBH) is an alternative delivery model to hospital services in many areas across North America. Many pilot initiatives of this care model are being used to optimize what healthcare professionals can provide to those with various progressive and chronic diseases. HBH might be able to forestall the need for costly care in hospitals, but it requires the patient has the necessary equipment.
Making hospital technology available to average consumers is one way standards behind quality patient indicators can enhance the care offered in private settings. Healthcare providers and families can replicate the hospital setting at home, with caregivers using quality patient indicators to keep the environment safe for the patient.
Quality indicator assessments take into account health outcomes, clinical processes, patient safety, effective use of healthcare resources, care coordination, patient engagement in their own treatment, patient views of their care, population and public health.
Indicators for In-Hospital Prevention Practices, or PQIs Indicators for Inpatient Quality of Care, Patient Safety Indicators, or Pediatric Quality Indicators, and readmission rates are all important metrics to track internally.
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