Patient Safety: Quality of Care Metrics

Jen Joynt, Independent Health Care Consultant

Over the last few decades, there has been a significant growth in the measurement and reporting of health care quality outcomes. As health care evolves, it is important to continue to monitor and report on the quality of care delivered to patients in California and across the US. This is part of a series of measures CHCF is publishing on the quality of care in our state. Topics range from maternal to end-of-life care, and include measures on behavioral health, chronic conditions, and patient safety.

This set of quality measures focuses on patient safety across various settings of care including ambulatory surgery centers, emergency departments, inpatient hospitals, nursing homes, and home health.

Use the interactive charts below to see more details. The companion Excel data file is available under Related Materials. If you would like a version of these charts to use in your own presentation or report, please contact Audrey Chiang.


In both California and the US, ambulatory surgery centers report low error rates on four quality measures related to high-priority patient safety issues for Medicare. Lower rates are better. For all of these measures, California performs similarly to the US overall.


Health care–associated infections (HAIs), a serious patient safety concern, are preventable infections that patients get while receiving care in a health care facility. Looking at five hospital-based HAIs, California hospitals performed worse than the national average on three measures and better than the national average on two. HAI performance is measured with a standardized infection ratio (SIR) that compares the actual number of HAIs with the predicted number of HAIs; lower numbers are better.


In 2016, 18% of African Americans were readmitted to the hospital within 30 days compared to 15% of Latino, and 14% of Asian and white Californians. Readmission rates also varied by payer, with about 16% of Medicare and Medi-Cal patients readmitted within 30 days, compared to 10% of patients with private insurance.