Measuring pediatric hospital readmission rates to drive quality improvement

Acad Pediatr. 2014 Sep-Oct;14(5 Suppl):S39-46. doi: 10.1016/j.acap.2014.06.012.


The Pediatric Quality Measures Program is developing readmission measures for pediatric use. We sought to describe the importance of readmissions in children and the challenges of developing readmission quality measures. We consider findings and perspectives from research studies and commentaries in the pediatric and adult literature, characterizing arguments for and against using readmission rates as measures of pediatric quality and discussing available evidence and current knowledge gaps. The major topic of debate regarding readmission rates as pediatric quality measures is the relative influence of hospital quality versus other factors within and outside of health systems on readmission risk. The complex causation of readmissions leads to disagreement, particularly when rates are publicly reported or tied to payment, about whether readmissions can be prevented and how to achieve fair comparisons of readmission performance. Despite these controversies, the policy focus on readmissions has motivated widespread efforts by hospitals and outpatient providers to evaluate and reengineer care processes. Many adult studies demonstrate a link between successful initiatives to improve quality and reductions in readmissions. More research is needed on methods to enhance adjustment of readmission rates and on how to prevent pediatric readmissions.

Keywords: pediatrics; quality measurement; readmissions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Hospitals, Pediatric / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Patient Readmission / statistics & numerical data*
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care / methods*
  • Quality Improvement*
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care
  • Risk Factors
  • United States