Legislators, payers, and quality-of-care advocates across the United States are considering requiring hospitals to report ventilator-associated pneumonia rates as a way to benchmark and reward quality of care. Accurate diagnosis of ventilator-associated pneumonia, however, is notoriously difficult because several common complications of critical care can mimic the clinical appearance of ventilatorassociated pneumonia. The challenge is compounded by substantial subjectivity inherent in the current surveillance definition. These sources of variability make ventilator-associated pneumonia rates difficult to acquire, interpret, and compare both within and among institutions. Ventilator-associated pneumonia should be excluded from compulsory reporting initiatives until we develop and validate more objective outcome measures that meaningfully reflect quality of care for ventilated patients. Ann Intern Med. 2007;147:803-805
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