How PQIs Reflect Community Health

Even though PQIs are based on hospital inpatient data, they provide insight into the community health care system or services outside the hospital setting. For example, patients with diabetes may be hospitalized for diabetic complications if their conditions are not adequately monitored or if they do not receive the patient education needed for appropriate self-management.

PQIs can provide a window into the community — to identify unmet community health care needs, to monitor how well complications from a number of common conditions are being avoided in the outpatient setting, and to compare performance of local health care systems across communities.

Prevention Quality Indicators

The Prevention Quality Indicators (PQIs), developed by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), are a set of measures derived from hospital inpatient discharge data to identify "ambulatory care sensitive conditions." These are conditions for which good outpatient care can potentially prevent the need for hospitalization or for which early intervention can prevent severe complications.

The PQIs measure outcomes of preventive care for both acute illnesses and chronic conditions, reflecting two important components of the quality of preventive care - effectiveness and timeliness. In short, the indicators identity hospital admissions in geographic areas that research suggests may have been avoided through access to high-quality outpatient care. Identifying potentially preventable hospitalizations serves as useful indicator of possible unmet community health needs; and also helps monitor how well complications from a number of common conditions are being avoided in the outpatient setting.

The purpose of reporting PQIs is to provide hospitals, community leaders, and policy makers with information that would help them identify community-level health care needs in order to target resources and track the impact of programmatic and policy interventions. The reports include background information on the AHRQ’s Quality Indicator tools, disparities by county in preventable hospitalizations and definitions of the prevention quality indicators.

The Department of Health published a report on the state's PQIs about every five years. The most recent reports are available to the right.


Last Reviewed: 5/24/2022