Assessing 30-day avoidable readmission rates: Is it an appropriate tool to manage emergency department quality of care?

Agri Fabio, Eggli Yves, Fabrice Dami


Objective: Quality indicators, based on administrative data, are being increasingly used to assess avoidable hospital readmission rates. Their potential to identify areas for improvement at low cost is attractive, but their performance in emergency departments (EDs) has been criticised.
Methods: Hospital readmissions were categorised as potentially avoidable or non-avoidable, by a computerised algorithm (SQLape®, version 2016 - Striving for Quality Level and analysing of patient expenditures). Half-yearly rates were reported between July 2015 and June 2016. Two senior physicians conducted a medical record review on 100 randomly selected cases from an ED, flagged as potentially avoidable readmissions (PAR). Results were then discussed with the algorithm’s designer.
Results: The algorithm screened 2,182 eligible emergency visits - 105 cases (4.8%), were deemed potentially avoidable by the algorithm. Among 100 randomly selected cases, nine exclusions were due to coding issues and four due to false positives. Overall (N = 87), 20/87 (23%) of readmissions were directly related to sole emergency care, 31/87 (36%) related to healthcare providers other than the ED, and 23/87 (26%) were of mixed provision, while 13/87 (15%) were attributed to the course of the disease.
Conclusions: The study confirms the need for a better understanding of the algorithm’s measurement and of its reported results. Careful interpretation is required before a sound conclusion can be made. Indeed, it is apparent that the 30-day PAR quality indicator rate reflects a wider parameter of care than hospitals alone, who understandably tend to concentrate on their own, direct liability of care. In particular the 30-day PAR quality indicator is not well-suited to evaluate ED performance.

Full Text:




  • There are currently no refbacks.

Journal of Hospital Administration

ISSN 1927-6990(Print)   ISSN 1927-7008(Online)

Copyright © Sciedu Press
To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.