Characterization and Evolution of Avoidable Admissions in Portugal: The Impact of Two Methodologic Approaches

João Sarmento, Conceição Alves, Paula Oliveira, Rita Sebastião, Rui Santana

Abstract


Introduction: The aim of this study is to evaluate the health systems performance through the avoidable hospital admissions, once these have gained international relevance. We used two different methods to identify the admissions for Ambulatory Care Sensitive Conditions, describing the Portuguese reality and evolution.
Material and Methods: Over 12 million hospitalizations were analyzed between 2000 and 2012 using the national hospital discharge databases. We used two different methodologies to identify the hospitalizations for Ambulatory Care Sensitive Conditions, determining their concordance. We also estimated potential improvement scenarios.
Results: In 2012, 4.4% and 32.4% of the hospitalizations for medical causes were avoidable according to the Canadian and Spanish methodologies respectively. The hospitalizations are more frequent in children and the elderly. The most frequent causes vary according to the age group and methodology. During the analyzed period the rate of admissions has dropped 20% according to the Canadian methodology and increased 16% according to the Spanish methodology. There are regional clusters of performance under and above the national average. The concordance between methodologies is low. The improvement scenarios estimated possible reductions between 20.3% and 53.5% of the hospitalizations.
Discussion: The avoidable admissions assume a relevant volume in Portugal. Although in theory they are avoidable their complete elimination is a practical impossibility. Their study, however, allows the evaluation and results motorization enabling to establish intervention priorities.
Conclusion: To have a precise characterization of the avoidable admissions in Portugal it is necessary to achieve consensus on the identification methodology.

Keywords


Ambulatory Care; Hospitalization Outcome and Process Assessment (Health Care); Portugal.

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