Measuring Healthcare Outcomes to Improve Quality of Care Across Post-Acute Care Provider Settings

As the number and length of hospital stays continues to decrease, post-acute care (PAC) is being provided more frequently across a number of settings including skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), rehabilitation facilities (RFs) and home health agencies (HHAs). This study reviewed the data sets from different PAC settings; investigated efforts to create projects and measures that cut across PAC settings; and detailed why this process, at times, has been difficult. The researchers offered two hurdles in developing a standard quality assessment measure to be used across PAC settings. First, patient characteristics may differ across PAC settings. Second, limited information exists as to what the quality outcomes are for PAC settings and what it would cost to assess and analyze these settings. It was recommended that researchers focus on those health care domains and outcomes seen most frequently across existing measures and then develop items and measures in these areas. These actions would represent gradual but meaningful steps towards standardized quality assessment of PAC settings.