Although the use of quality of care indicators based on data collected for administrative purposes has become widespread, the relationship between those measures and clinical outcomes has yet to be evaluated.
This study used hierarchical linear modeling to examine the relationship between 12 performance indicators derived from administrative data sets and 6 clinical outcome measures addressing symptoms, substance abuse, and social functions.
Patient interviews were conducted with 4,165 veterans 4 months after their discharge from 62 specialized VA inpatient programs for treatment of Posttraumatic Stress disorder.
Five of twelve administrative measures were significantly associated with at least one of the clinical outcome measures, which was all in the expected directions. The number of hospital readmissions during the 6 months after the index discharge was significantly related to poor outcomes on all 5 of 6 measures. Measures of readmission and post-discharge hospital use were more strongly and consistently related to outcome than to measures of access, intensity, or continuity of outpatient care.
Administrative data, especially measures of hospital readmission, are significantly related to clinical outcomes. Correlations, however, are small to modest in magnitude indicating that these 2 types of performance measures assess different aspects of quality and can not be substituted for one another.