What sorts of metrics are most appropriate for rural inpatient settings?
For rural inpatient care, standard inpatient metrics may be appropriate. The chosen metrics, however, should be sensitive to special issues unique to this setting, including smaller size, greater dependence on generalists and limited resources.
The metrics should also consider the first contact role of rural hospitals and linkages to more specialized medical centers. Especially in locations with only a single hospital, metrics should be developed to measure the effect of the implementation on the community as well. For example, if a goal of the implementation is to encourage use of a patient portal for accessing health education resources, an appropriate metric may be to measure the percentage of patients who have logged-in to the site. A rural hospital can serve as a hub for integrating community based care programs and metrics may need to be created to evaluate whether the implementation is meeting needs in these areas as well. Other metrics may also be selected to meet data reporting needs for funding or accreditation purposes.
Additional Resources on the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI):
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