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Stroke. 2010 Dec;41(12):2924-31. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.110.598664. Epub 2010 Oct 21.

Patient-level and hospital-level determinants of the quality of acute stroke care: a multilevel modeling approach.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA.



Quality of care may be influenced by patient and hospital factors. Our goal was to use multilevel modeling to identify patient-level and hospital-level determinants of the quality of acute stroke care in a stroke registry.


During 2001 to 2002, data were collected for 4897 ischemic stroke and TIA admissions at 96 hospitals from 4 prototypes of the Paul Coverdell National Acute Stroke Registry. Duration of data collection varied between prototypes (range, 2-6 months). Compliance with 8 performance measures (recombinant tissue plasminogen activator treatment, antithrombotics < 24 hours, deep venous thrombosis prophylaxis, lipid testing, dysphagia screening, discharge antithrombotics, discharge anticoagulants, smoking cessation) was summarized in a composite opportunity score defined as the proportion of all needed care given. Multilevel linear regression analyses with hospital specified as a random effect were conducted.


The average hospital composite score was 0.627. Hospitals accounted for a significant amount of variability (intraclass correlation = 0.18). Bed size was the only significant hospital-level variable; the mean composite score was 11% lower in small hospitals (≤ 145 beds) compared with large hospitals (≥ 500 beds). Significant patient-level variables included age, race, ambulatory status documentation, and neurologist involvement. However, these factors explained < 2.0% of the variability in care at the patient level.


Multilevel modeling of registry data can help identify the relative importance of hospital-level and patient-level factors. Hospital-level factors accounted for 18% of total variation in the quality of care. Although the majority of variability in care occurred at the patient level, the model was able to explain only a small proportion.

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