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Paper Examines Usefulness of Hospital Admissions as a Measure of Quality of Care

Emergency admission rates for ambulatory care-sensitive conditions (ACSCs) have been used by both researchers and policy makers as an indicator to assess healthcare systems. ACSCs are a set of conditions such as asthma and diabetes, where the need for emergency admissions is thought to be avoidable. They are designed to capture how ambulatory care might impact on rates of emergency admissions. However, in a paper published in BMJ Quality and Safety, the authors question the merits of distinguishing ACSCs from other emergency admissions. Examining factors associated with county-level variation in emergency admissions in Ireland, they found similar factors were associated with both all emergency admissions and ACSCs. They concluded that ‘the distinction between potentially avoidable and all other emergency admissions may not be as useful as previously believed’.

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