Key Quality Measures in Healthcare: Mortality and Readmissions

In the healthcare industry, quality measures are critical for ensuring patients receive safe and effective care. Here’s the top three quality measures related to mortality and readmission we’ve seen this year: Heart Failure, Pneumonia, and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). We'll delve into the significance of these measures, why they matter, and practical steps healthcare providers can take to improve outcomes.

Heart Failure

Heart Failure (HF) is a chronic condition where the heart can't pump blood effectively, leading to various symptoms and complications. It's a top quality measure because:

a) High Prevalence: HF affects millions of people globally and is a leading cause of hospitalization, often resulting in readmissions.

b) Cost of Care: Treating HF and its complications is expensive. Reducing readmissions not only benefits patients but also helps control costs.

c) Patient Experience: Decreasing readmissions improves the overall experience for HF patients who often face a reduced quality of life.

To enhance outcomes for HF patients, healthcare providers should focus on educating patients, ensuring they adhere to medications, closely monitoring their condition, and coordinating post-discharge care.


Pneumonia is an acute respiratory infection caused by various pathogens. It's a common condition that can lead to serious health problems. It's a quality measure because:

a) Severity Varies: Pneumonia's severity can range from mild to severe, affecting the likelihood of hospitalization and readmission.

b) High Readmission Rates: Pneumonia often leads to readmissions due to issues like inadequate antibiotic treatment, improper discharge planning, or complications.

c) Preventable: Many pneumonia cases can be prevented through vaccination and good hygiene practices, making it an area where healthcare providers can make a difference.

To address pneumonia as a quality measure, hospitals can focus on early diagnosis, providing appropriate antibiotic therapy, educating patients about infection prevention, and planning for safe discharges.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a progressive lung condition characterized by chronic bronchitis and emphysema. It's a significant contributor to healthcare costs and a leading cause of hospital admissions because:

a) Chronic Condition: COPD is ongoing and can result in frequent hospitalizations if not managed effectively.

b) Smoking Cessation: Smoking is the primary cause of COPD, and quitting can significantly impact outcomes and readmission rates.

c) Comprehensive Care: Managing COPD requires multiple approaches, including pulmonary rehabilitation, medication management, and patient education.

To reduce readmissions for COPD patients, healthcare providers can optimize medication regimens, offer support for smoking cessation, and ensure access to pulmonary rehabilitation programs.

In healthcare, quality measures for mortality and readmission are crucial. This year, Heart Failure, Pneumonia, and COPD have been in focus. Accurate medical coding is essential as it impacts reimbursement, data analysis, and regulatory compliance, ultimately improving patient care. Healthcare organizations should prioritize accurate coding to address these quality measures effectively.

Health Information Associates offers medical coding services, medical auditing services, and clinical documentation audit services for hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, physician groups and other healthcare entities in the United States.


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