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J Palliat Med. 2009 Jan;12(1):21-5. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2008.0210.

Center to advance palliative care inpatient unit operational metrics: consensus recommendations.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53226, USA.


The need to standardize the prospective collection and analysis of data has been a cornerstone of education and technical assistance provided by the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC). Data analysis is vital for strategic planning, quality improvement, and demonstration of program impact to hospital administrators, private funders, and policymakers. To develop a set of core measures, CAPC convened a consensus panel in 2008 to focus on operational metrics for hospital inpatient palliative care units. Operational metrics, as distinct from clinical, customer, and financial metrics, describe the characteristics of patients admitted to an inpatient unit, such as age, disease, location, length of stay, and disposition. The panel arrived at 11 metric domains, all but one of which can be used for either internal programmatic use or for external comparisons of service characteristics/impact between different hospitals. In an effort to ensure access to reliably high-quality palliative care data throughout the nation, hospitals are encouraged to collect and report outcomes for each of the 11 metric domains described here.

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