Measuring rural hospital quality

Ira Moscovice, Douglas R. Wholey, Jill Klingner, Astrid Knott

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Context: Increased interest in the measurement of hospital quality has been stimulated by accrediting bodies, purchaser coalitions, government agencies, and other entities. Purpose: This paper examines quality measurement for hospitals in rural settings. We seek to identify rural hospital quality measures that reflect quality in all hospitals and that are sensitive to the rural hospital context. Methods: We develop a conceptual model for measuring rural hospital quality, with a focus on the special issues posed by the rural hospital context for quality measurement. With the assistance of a panel of rural hospital and hospital quality measurement experts, we review hospital quality measures from national and rural organizations for their fit to rural hospitals. Findings: Based on this analysis, we recommend an initial core set of quality measures relevant for rural hospitals with less than 50 beds. This core set of 20 measures includes 11 core measures from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (fCAHO) related to community acquired pneumonia, heart failure, and acute myocardial infarction; 1 measure related to infection control; 3 measures related to medication dispensing and teaching; 2 procedure-related measures; 1 financial measure; and 2 other measures related to the use of advance directives and emergency department monitoring of trauma vital signs. Conclusion: Based on the special measurement needs posed by the rural hospital context, we suggest avenues for future quality measure development for core rural hospital functions (eg, triage, stabilization, and transfer, and emergency care) not considered in existing quality measurement sets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)383-393
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Rural Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 2004


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