Healthcare Information Division

AHRQ Quality Indicators for California

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has developed four types of Quality Indicators (QIs), measures that provide a perspective on quality of healthcare using hospital inpatient discharge data reported to OSHPD.

The AHRQ QIs measure various aspects of quality:

  • Area-Level (Statewide, County) Indicators
  • Facility Level Indicators
    • Inpatient Mortality Indicators (IMIs) reflect quality of care inside hospitals by measuring inpatient mortality for selected medical conditions and surgical procedures.
    • Volume Indicators provide the number of medical procedures of a given type that are done within one year.
    • Utilization Indicators refer to the percent of times that a medical treatment is done using a particular type of procedure for which there could be possible over- or under-use, along with large variation in rates across hospitals.

The indicators were developed by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and are provided by OSHPD for use by California consumers, health planners, healthcare purchasers, and healthcare providers.

OSHPD views the indicators as useful starting points for examining hospital quality but does not regard them as definitive measures of quality. When this information is carefully considered, with its limitations, alongside other reliable healthcare provider information, it may also be helpful to patients and purchasers such as insurance providers when making decisions about healthcare choices. Healthcare planners and providers may also benefit from using this information in quality improvement activities.

The indicators were created using patient data submitted electronically by the hospitals. The data were not validated by OSHPD beyond the routine error-checking that occurs during the data submission process. For information about how the indicators are calculated, including technical details about each of the PQIs, visit the AHRQ website. AHRQ also provides valuable guidance regarding the validity of these indicators and important limitations on their use as quality measures.

Page last revised: December 21, 2012 2:06 PM