Potentially preventable hospitalizations–United States, 2001–2009
Potentially preventable hospitalizations are admissions to a hospital for certain acute illnesses (e.g., dehydration) or worsening chronic conditions (e.g., diabetes) that might not have required hospitalization had these conditions been managed successfully by primary care providers in outpatient settings. Although not all such hospitalizations can be avoided, admission rates in populations and communities can vary depending on access to primary care, care-seeking behaviors, and the quality of care available. Because hospitalization tends to be costlier than outpatient or primary care, potentially preventable hospitalizations often are tracked as markers of health system efficiency. The number and cost of potentially preventable hospitalizations also can be calculated to help identify potential cost savings associated with reducing these hospitalizations overall and for specific populations.