Health Care Management Papers

Document Type

Technical Report

Date of this Version

1-2011

Publication Source

BMC Health Services Research

Volume

11

DOI

10.1186/1472-6963-11-22

Abstract

Background

Proposed neonatal quality measures have included structural measures such as average daily census, and outcome measures such as mortality and rates of complications of prematurity. However, process measures have remained largely unexamined. The objective of this research was to examine variation in surfactant use as a possible process measure of neonatal quality.

Methods

We obtained data on infants 30 to 34 weeks gestation admitted with respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) within 48 hours of birth to 16 hospitals participating in the Pediatric Health Information Systems database from 2001-2006. Models were developed to describe hospital variation in surfactant use and identify patient and hospital predictors of use. Another cohort of all infants admitted within 24 hours of birth was used to obtain adjusted neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) mortality rates. To assess the construct validity of surfactant use as a quality metric, adjusted hospital rates of mortality and surfactant use were compared using Kendall's tau.

Results

Of 3,633 infants, 46% received surfactant. For individual hospitals, the adjusted odds of surfactant use varied from 2.2 times greater to 5.9 times less than the hospital with the median adjusted odds of surfactant use. Increased annual admissions of extremely low birth weight infants to the NICU were associated with greater surfactant use (OR 1.80, 95% CI 1.02-3.19). The correlation between adjusted hospital rates of surfactant use and in-hospital mortality was 0.37 (Kendall's tau p = 0.051).

Conclusions

Though results were encouraging, efforts to examine surfactant use in infants with RDS as a process measure reflecting quality of care revealed significant challenges. Difficulties related to adequate measurement including defining RDS using administrative data, accounting for care received prior to transfer, and adjusting for severity of illness will need to be addressed to improve the utility of this measure.

Copyright/Permission Statement

© Kaplan et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2011

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Date Posted: 27 November 2017

This document has been peer reviewed.