Background: Hospital mortality, readmission and length of stay (LOS) are commonly used measures for quality of care. We aimed to disentangle the correlations between these interrelated measures and propose a new way of combining them to evaluate the quality of hospital care. Methods: We analyzed administrative data from the Global Comparators Project from 26 hospitals on patients discharged between 2007 and 2012. We correlated standardized and risk-adjusted hospital outcomes on mortality, readmission and long LOS. We constructed a composite measure with 5 levels, based on literature review and expert advice, from survival without readmission and normal LOS (best) to mortality (worst outcome). This composite measure was analyzed using ordinal regression, to obtain a standardized outcome measure to compare hospitals. Results: Overall, we observed a 3.1% mortality rate, 7.8% readmission rate (in survivors) and 20.8% long LOS rate among 4,327,105 admissions. Mortality and LOS were correlated at the patient and the hospital level. A patient in the upper quartile LOS had higher odds of mortality (odds ratio = 1.45, 95% confidence interval 1.43-1.47) than those in the lowest quartile. Hospitals with a high standardized mortality had higher proportions of long LOS (r = 0.79, p < 0.01). Readmission rates did not correlate with either mortality or long LOS rates. The interquartile range of the standardized ordinal composite outcome was 74-117. The composite outcome had similar or better reliability in ranking hospitals than individual outcomes. Conclusions: Correlations between different outcome measures are complex and differ between hospital- and patient-level. The proposed composite measure combines three outcomes in an ordinal fashion for a more comprehensive and reliable view of hospital performance than its component indicators.

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Keywords Administrative data, Benchmarking, Composite outcomes, Ordinal models, Outcomes, Quality of care
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Journal BMC Health Services Research
Lingsma, H.F, Bottle, A. (Alex), Middleton, S. (Steve), Kievit, J, Steyerberg, E.W, & Marang-van de Mheen, P.J. (2018). Evaluation of hospital outcomes: The relation between length-of-stay, readmission, and mortality in a large international administrative database. BMC Health Services Research, 18(1). doi:10.1186/s12913-018-2916-1