Patient discharge, the formal ending of inpatient care.
In the face of technical difficulties and the cost of collecting health outcomes data from patients directly, many “outcome measures” actually use processes of care or use of services as “proxies” for patient's health states. For example, hospital readmission rate is sometimes referred to as an outcome measure; the underlying theory is that readmission reflects a change in health state. In reality, readmissions can occur for many reasons other than the health state of the patient. A high readmission rate may indicate that the patient's health has deteriorated, or it could indicate another issue, such as a lack of caregivers in the home or a misjudgment about the discharge destination at the time of discharge. A high rate of readmissions could reflect poor care during the first admission, or superior care leading to rescue and a sicker population on average at discharge. Such measures may be considered “proxies for health outcome.”