Cover: Hospital Quality Indicators for Opioid-Exposed Infants

Hospital Quality Indicators for Opioid-Exposed Infants

Results From an Expert Consensus Panel

Published in: Pediatrics, Volume 154, Number 1, e2024065721 (July 2024). DOI: 10.1542/peds.2024-065721

Posted on Jun 12, 2024

by Jordan M. Harrison, Bradley D. Stein, Sarah F. Loch, Scott A. Lorch, Stephen W. Patrick


To elicit expert consensus on quality indicators for the hospital-based care of opioid-exposed infants.


We used the ExpertLens online platform to conduct a 3-round modified Delphi panel. Expert panelists included health care providers, parents in recovery, quality experts, and public health experts. We identified 49 candidate quality indicators from a literature review and environmental scan. A total of 32 experts rated the importance and feasibility of the indicators using a 9-point Likert scale (Round 1), reviewed and discussed the initial ratings (round 2), and revised their original ratings (Round 3). Numeric scores corresponded with descriptive ratings of "low" (1-3), "uncertain" (4-6), or "high" (7-9). We measured consensus using the RAND/UCLA Appropriateness Method.


Candidate quality indicators assessed structures, processes, and outcomes in multiple domains of clinical care. After the final round, 36 indicators were rated "high" on importance and feasibility. Experts had strong consensus on the importance of quality indicators to assess universal screening of pregnant people for substance use disorder, hospital staff training, standardized assessment for neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome, nonpharmacologic interventions, and transitions of care. For indicators focused on processes and outcomes, experts saw feasibility as dependent on the information routinely documented in electronic medical records or billing records. To present a more complete picture of hospital quality, experts suggested development of composite measures that summarize quality across multiple indicators.


A panel of experts reached consensus on a range of quality indicators for hospital-based care of opioid-exposed infants, with potential for use in national benchmarking, intervention studies, or hospital performance measurement.

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