Feasibility of using administrative data to compare hospital performance in the EU

Int J Qual Health Care. 2014 Apr;26 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):108-15. doi: 10.1093/intqhc/mzu015. Epub 2014 Feb 18.


Objective: To describe hospitals' organizational arrangements relevant to the abstraction of administrative data, to report on the completeness of administrative data collected and to assess associations between organizational arrangements and completeness of data submission.

Design: A cross-sectional

Study design: utilizing administrative data.

Setting and participants: Randomly selected hospitals from seven European countries (The Czech Republic, France, Germany, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and Turkey).

Main outcome measures: Completeness of data submission for four quality indicators: mortality after acute myocardial infarction, stroke and hip fractures and complications after normal delivery.

Results: In general, hospitals were able to produce data on the four indicators required for this research study. A substantial proportion had missing data on one or more data items. The proportion of hospitals that was able to produce more detailed indicators of relevance for quality monitoring and improvement was low and ranged from 40.1% for thrombolysis performed on patients with acute ischemic stroke to 63.8% for hip-fracture operations performed within 48 h after admission for patients aged 65 or older. National factors were strong predictors of data completeness on the studied indicators.

Conclusions: At present, hospital administrative databases do not seem to be an appropriate source of information for comparison of hospital performance across the countries of the EU. However, given that this is a dynamic field, changes to administrative databases may make this possible in the near future. Such changes could be accelerated by an in-depth comparative analysis of the issues of using administrative data for comparisons of hospital performances in EU countries.

Keywords: audit; benchmarking; external quality assessment; health care system; health policy; hospital care; measurement of quality; patient safety; quality indicators; quality management; safety indicators; setting of care.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Critical Pathways / standards
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Databases, Factual
  • European Union
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Hospital Administration* / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospitals / standards*
  • Humans
  • Management Audit
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care* / statistics & numerical data
  • Turkey