Validity of a tool designed to assess the preventability of potentially preventable hospitalizations for chronic conditions

Jennifer J Johnston, Jo M Longman, Dan P Ewald, Margaret I Rolfe, Sergio Diez Alvarez, Adrian H B Gilliland, Steven C Chung, Sumon K Das, Jonathan M King, Megan E Passey
Family Practice 2019 December 18

BACKGROUND: Potentially preventable hospitalizations (PPH) are defined as unplanned hospital admissions which could potentially have been prevented with the provision of effective, timely outpatient care. To better understand and ultimately reduce rates of PPH, a means of identifying those which are actually preventable is required. The Preventability Assessment Tool (PAT) was designed for use by hospital clinicians to assess the preventability of unplanned admissions for chronic conditions.

OBJECTIVE: The present study examined the ability of the PAT to distinguish between those unplanned admissions which are preventable and those which are not, compared to the assessments of an Expert Panel.

METHODS: Data were collected between November 2014 and June 2017 at three hospitals in NSW, Australia. Participants were community-dwelling patients with unplanned hospital admissions for congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes complications or angina pectoris. A nurse and a doctor caring for the patient made assessments of the preventability of the admission using the PAT. Expert Panels made assessments of the preventability of each admission based on a comprehensive case report and consensus process.

RESULTS: There was little concordance between the hospital doctors and nurses regarding the preventability of admissions, nor between the assessments of the Expert Panel and the hospital nurse or the Expert Panel and the hospital doctor.

CONCLUSIONS: The PAT demonstrated poor concurrent validity and is not a valid tool for assessing the preventability of unplanned hospital admissions. The use of Expert Panels provides a more rigorous approach to assessing the preventability of such admissions.

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