Research Activities, September 2013
News and Notes
HHS releases the National Quality Strategy for promoting better health, quality care
This summer the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the 2013 Annual Progress Report to Congress on the National Strategy for Quality Improvement in Health Care. The report provides details on implementation activities by the private and public sectors, efforts to align quality measures, and successes in six priority areas, including patient safety, community health, and affordability.
Since the National Quality Strategy was first released in 2011, the private and public sectors have continued to implement activities that improve the delivery of health care services, patient health outcomes, and population health, as directed by the Affordable Care Act.
This year's report highlights:
- Effective performance measurement, including efforts to identify and adopt unified measures that meet the reporting requirements of programs across the Federal government, the private sector, States, and even individual health systems and providers. These alignment efforts include the work of the Measures Application Partnership, composed of more than 60 public- and private-sector organizations, and the Buying Value Initiative, a group of 19 private health care purchasers and purchasers' representatives.
- Quality improvement in the six priority areas that include patient safety, community health, and affordability. While 2012 focused mainly on HHS-led initiatives, this year's report describes public- and private-sector efforts such as the Irving, Texas-based VHA cooperative of nonprofit hospitals that reduced all-payer, all-cause readmissions by 17.6 percent in just 12 months across 192 hospitals.
- Progress against the three strategic opportunities, first identified in the 2012 update, including the development of organizational infrastructure at the community level. The 62 Health Information Technology Regional Extension Centers work with more than 31,000 medical practices and 140,000 providers—nearly 45 percent of the nation's primary care providers—to adopt and meaningfully use electronic health records to improve patient health and care delivery.
You can access the annual progress report and other materials at http://go.usa.gov/jzYn.
Find out more about achieving a culture of safety on AHRQ's Patient Safety Network
A lack of a "culture of safety" is linked to increased error rates, according to a patient safety primer available on AHRQ's Patient Safety Network (PSNet). The primer identifies key features of organizations committed to a culture of safety. It also outlines specific measures and introduces a strategy to improve safety culture. You can access the patient safety primer "Safety Culture" at http://psnet.ahrq.gov/primer.aspx?primerID=5.
Electronic Data Methods Forum focuses on lessons learned using electronic data
AHRQ has released the Electronic Data Methods Forum's second special supplement with Medical Care, The Electronic Data Methods Forum 2013: Advancing the National Dialogue on Use of Electronic Clinical Data to Improve Patient Care and Outcomes. The supplement features 13 papers that highlight the challenges and successes of using electronic health records for comparative effectiveness research (CER), standardizing terminologies in adherence, protecting patient privacy, and improving synergy between research and clinical care.
AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program established the Electronic Data Methods Forum to advance the national dialogue on use of electronic clinical data to conduct CER, improve care quality, and develop clinical decision support systems. You can access the journal supplement at http://journals.lww.com/lww-medicalcare/toc/2013/08001.
Journal supplement focuses on comparative effectiveness and patient-centered outcomes research methods
A new special supplement to the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology provides proceedings from the fourth AHRQ-sponsored symposium on research methods for comparative effectiveness and patient-centered outcomes research. The symposium was developed via AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program through the DEcIDE Network. It examined the methodological work that serves to illuminate the mechanisms contributing to potential differences between research results from randomized clinical trials that measure treatment efficacy versus observational studies that measure effectiveness. Each of the 17 articles can be downloaded for free from the Effective Health Care Program Web site at http://go.usa.gov/jzgx.