Pennsylvania Health Care Quality Alliance > Quality Measures

Our Measures:

Quality Is Important TOP

Quality care is getting the care you need when you need it. Whether it is in a hospital or in a doctor’s office, the quality of care provided directly impacts the health status of the patient (outcomes) and the overall cost of care. Creating a single source of quality information is an essential building block to reforming our health care system. Pennsylvania hospitals provide quality data to a variety of different organizations and government entities. We take that information from trusted and validated sources and present it in a way that allows everyone to see how our health care system is doing.

Quality Measures TOP

Quality measures are metrics, indicators or ratings which provide some insight into the quality of care that patients are receiving in a particular setting or place. Quality measures are categorized differently depending on what and how they measure.

Process Measures — a process measure assesses a health care service provided to, or on behalf of, a patient. Process measures are often used to assess adherence to recommended guidelines for clinical practice based on scientific evidence or consensus. Providing an aspirin to a heart attack patient upon arrival to the hospital is an example of a process measure because it measures whether a process or a step took place or not. To a greater extent than outcome measures, process measures can identify specific areas of care that may require improvement.

Outcome Measures — an outcome of care is a health state of a patient resulting from health care. An outcome measure can be used to assess quality of care to the extent that health care services influence the likelihood of desired health outcomes. Outcome-based measures of quality reflect the cumulative impact of multiple processes of care. Readmission (to the hospital) and mortality (or death) rates are examples of outcome measures. Outcome measures can identify specific areas of care that may require quality improvement, but further investigation is typically necessary to determine the specific structures or processes that should be changed.

Process Measures vs. Outcome Measures TOP

The quality of care provided to patients is most frequently measured using a combination of process and outcome measures. Process measures assess whether specific health care services are provided to an individual who needs them based on their condition and place of treatment. Outcome measures assess how patients actually fair during and after treatment. Outcome measures therefore attempt to gauge the comprehensive result of multiple health care services (or processes) provided to an individual. Together, process and outcome measures tell a more complete story than they can on their own.

Composite Measures TOP

Composite measures are a combination of two or more individual measures into a single score. While individual (process) measures can provide important information on the quality of specific process steps or clinical outcomes, composite measures summarize performance by combining the information from many measures into a single score. Composites can also show results for concepts or categories that are too complex to be measured with a single item. The composite measures used in our report are the Appropriate Care Measures. These measures show the percentage of patients who received all the recommended care they were supposed to have received during their hospital stay based on their condition.

Patient Experience Measures TOP

Patient experience measures come from patient surveys and attempt to capture the patients’ perspective of their experience in the hospital. Patient experience measures used in our report are the Consumer Assessment scores, which are derived from the national Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey. HCAHPS is a standardized, nationwide survey that measures various aspects of patients’ experiences during their hospital stay which all hospitals are required to perform. This survey differs from hospital-run patient satisfaction surveys because it does not directly assess patients level of satisfaction derived from such events.