Study of potentially preventable hospitalisations (PPH) for chronic conditions: What proportion are preventable and what factors are associated with preventable PPH?

Jennifer Johnston, Jo Longman, Dan Ewald, Jonathan King, Sumon Das, Megan Passey

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    Introduction: The proportion of potentially preventable hospitalisations (PPH) which are actually preventable is unknown, and little is understood about the factors associated with individual preventable PPH. The Diagnosing Potentially Preventable Hospitalisations (DaPPHne) Study aimed to determine the proportion of PPH for chronic conditions which are preventable and identify factors associated with chronic PPH classified as preventable. 

    Setting: Three hospitals in NSW, Australia. 

    Participants: Community-dwelling patients with unplanned hospital admissions between November 2014 and June 2017 for congestive heart failure (CHF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes complications or angina pectoris. Data were collected from patients, their general practitioners (GPs) and hospital records. 

    Outcome measures: Assessments of the preventability of each admission by an Expert Panel. Results: 323 admissions were assessed for preventability: 46% (148/323) were assessed as preventable, 30% (98/323) as not preventable and 24% (77/323) as unclassifiable. Statistically significant differences in proportions preventable were found between the three study sites (29%; 47%; 58%; p≤0.001) and by primary discharge diagnosis (p≤0.001). Significant predictors of an admission being classified as preventable were: study site; final principal diagnosis of CHF; fewer diagnoses on discharge; shorter hospital stay; GP diagnosis of COPD; GP consultation in the last 12 months; not having had a doctor help make the decision to go to hospital; not arriving by ambulance; patient living alone; having someone help with medications and requiring help with daily tasks. 

    Conclusions: That less than half the chronic PPH were assessed as preventable, and the range of factors associated with preventability, including site and discharge diagnosis, are important considerations in the validity of PPH as an indicator. Opportunities for interventions to reduce chronic PPH include targeting patients with CHF and COPD, and the provision of social welfare and support services for patients living alone and those requiring help with daily tasks and medication management.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere038415
    Pages (from-to)1-9
    Number of pages9
    JournalBMJ Open
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2020

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