Within a defined law framework, the Italian central health system dictates the standards for hospitalization to local care units, which are in turn allowed to establish their own effectiveness criteria. The appropriateness of the hospitalization decision is therefore predetermined at patients admission, whereas its effectiveness relies on the ex post patient well-being as a result of the complex system of reciprocal relations between patients and healthcare agents at the ward level. We consider the outcomes in geriatric wards referring to the national health system, with respect both to patients traits at the individual level and wards/hospital settings. The risk that models the healthcare outcome is accordingly adjusted for covariates at the different levels of analysis (Goldstein & Spiegelhalter, 1996), thus allowing to differentiate among outcomes in terms of the hospitalization structure and, when appropriate, of territorial aggregation.
Keywords: Multilevel model; health outcome; table league; risk adjustment