McGlynn and Adams  repeat a point frequently made by the CLAHRC WM Director – before using outcomes to judge the quality of care, first model plausible effects.  Only a small fraction of an outcome may be amenable to improved care.
The rate of hospital deaths in the UK is about 3%. Allowing a generous 20% of those to be preventable sets an upper headroom for improvement of 0.6%. So don’t expect quality of care to show up in mortality statistics. Or, to take another example, about 1% of hospital patients suffer a preventable medication related adverse event. So don’t expect improved medicine management to show up in quality of life scores among the hospital population.
— Richard Lilford, CLAHRC WM Director
- McGlynn EA, Adams JL. What makes a good quality measure? JAMA. 2014; 312(15): 1517-8.
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- de Vries EN, Ramrattan MA, Smorenburg SM, Gouma DJ, Boermeester MA. The incidence and nature of in-hospital adverse events: a systematic review. Qual Saf Health Care. 2008; 17(3): 216-23.