Secondary Analysis of Office of Inspector General's Pressure Ulcer Data: Incidence, Avoidability, and Level of Harm

Jeffrey M. Levine, Karen M. Zulkowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To investigate in greater detail the government data on pressure ulcer (PrU) incidence, avoidability, and level of harm. DESIGN: The authors performed a secondary analysis of PrU data published in 2 studies by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) on adverse events in hospitals and skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). SETTING: Acute care hospitals and Medicare-certified SNFs across the United States. PATIENTS: The hospital sample included 780 Medicare beneficiaries randomly selected from 999,645 discharges during October 2008. The SNF population included 653 Medicare beneficiaries randomly selected from 100,771 patients whose stay began within 1 day of hospital discharge, who had a length of stay of 35 days or less, and whose stay ended in August 2011. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Pressure ulcer incidence with stage, location, avoidability, and level of harm using the Modified National Coordinating Council for Medication Errors Reporting and Prevention Index. MAIN RESULTS: The PrU incidence in hospitals was 2.9%, and the incidence in SNFs was 3.4%. Most PrUs were Stages I and II, with 78.3% in hospitals and 54.5% in SNFs. The avoidability of PrUs was similar in both locations, with 39.1% unavoidable in hospitals and 40.9% unavoidable in SNFs. All hospital-acquired PrUs and 90.9% of SNF-acquired PrUs were designated level E on the National Coordinating Council for Medication Errors Reporting and Prevention Index, indicating a temporary harm event. CONCLUSIONS: The OIG studies captured few Stage III PrUs and no Stage IV PrUs, and they underestimate the level of harm generated from PrUs in hospitals and SNFs. The studies offer a structured algorithm for avoidability determination, but lack measures of reliability and validity. Nonetheless, the high rate of unavoidable ulcers leads to questions on the reliability of PrUs as a quality indicator. There are several weaknesses in OIG methodology with regard to PrUs; however, its structured algorithm can be viewed as a starting point for future studies of PrU avoidability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)420-428
Number of pages9
JournalAdvances in Skin and Wound Care
Volume28
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - 27 Sep 2015

Keywords

  • Medicare
  • healthcare costs
  • pressure ulcers
  • quality measurement
  • wound care

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