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Development and Validation of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Measures of Potentially Preventable Emergency Department (ED) Visits: The ED Prevention Quality Indicators for General Heal

Objective: To develop and validate rates of potentially preventable emergency department (ED) visits as indicators of community health.

Data Sources: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project 2008–2010 State Inpatient Databases and State Emergency Department Databases.

Study Design: Empirical analyses and structured panel reviews.

Methods: Panels of 14–17 clinicians and end users evaluated a set of ED Prevention Quality Indicators (PQIs) using a Modified Delphi process. Empirical analyses included assessing variation in ED PQI rates across counties and sensitivity of those rates to county-level poverty, uninsurance, and density of primary care physicians (PCPs).

Principal Findings: ED PQI rates varied widely across U.S. communities. Indicator rates were significantly associated with county-level poverty, median income, Medicaid insurance, and levels of uninsurance. A few indicators were significantly associated with PCP density, with higher rates in areas with greater density. A clinical and an end-user panel separately rated the indicators as having strong face validity for most uses evaluated.

Conclusions: The ED PQIs have undergone initial validation as indicators of community health with potential for use in public reporting, population health improvement, and research.

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