Maryland Expands HCUP Partnership After AHRQ Workshop
As a result of attending an AHRQ State Healthcare Quality Improvement workshop, Maryland officials decided to expand their State's participation as a Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) partner. The workshop featured several AHRQ products and tools that can be used to highlight quality issues and improve quality of care, as well as a demonstration on the potential uses of HCUPnet.
The State of Maryland has long been a partner in HCUP, but after the December 2007 workshop decided to add its data to HCUPnet, the free on-line query system maintained by AHRQ.
HCUPnet provides national and regional data on hospital and emergency department utilization, as well as quality-of-care information. In addition, state-level data is presented for those HCUP partner states that agree to include their data in HCUPnet.
The Maryland Health Care Commission (MHCC) has also begun exploring how the state might use information from HCUPnet in its own reports. The MHCC is working on a Hospital Quality Initiative Project, a Web-based hospital guide designed to allow the MHCC to monitor the performance of hospitals across Maryland. It also allows patients, practitioners, and hospital leaders to compare the performance of hospitals throughout the State. Future quality improvement efforts include being able to compare information from other states as well.
Theressa Lee, MPA, RHIT, Chief of the Hospital Quality Initiative of MHCC, attended the AHRQ workshop and helped Maryland register as an HCUPnet partner. Lee comments,"AHRQ has done a lot of work in hospital quality, and the HCUP data are a good source for us. The ability to query and look at other states in comparison to Maryland is also very good."
Maryland's Web-based guide may also be expanded to include health care-associated infections, in addition to showing quality measures for cardiovascular data. The emergency department data found in HCUPnet may also be leveraged as the MHCC considers adding emergency department quality information to its hospital guide.