Trends in Potentially Preventable Hospitalizations among Adults and Children, 1997-2004

Source: Allison Russo, M.P.H., H. Joanna Jiang, Ph.D., Marguerite Barrett, Healthcare Cost And Utilization Project, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Stastical Brief #36, August 2007

Because of major concerns with both the cost and quality of health care, a priority of policy makers and health care providers is to identify areas where quality improvement and lower costs coincide. Potentially preventable admissions—inpatient stays that could be prevented with high quality primary and preventive care—are one area where higher quality care can cost less. Higher rates of these “preventable hospitalizations” identify areas where potential improvements in the health care delivery system could be made to improve patient outcomes and decrease costs. Changes in these rates over time may signal an improvement or worsening in the quality of ambulatory care, in access to timely and effective treatment of certain conditions for specific populations, or in patient adoption of healthy behaviors.

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