AHRQ Tool Helps Connecticut Assess Health Care Quality, Access
As a result of participating in a Web conference sponsored by AHRQ's Knowledge Transfer Quality Diagnostic Tools for States project, Connecticut's Department of Public Health, Office of Health Care Access (OHCA) used the Preventable Hospitalization Costs and Mapping Tool to assess the State's health care quality and access to community services. The results were then published in a report and a companion databook.
The Web conference's live demonstration of the Mapping Tool provided State health officials and policymakers tangible examples of how the tool could support public reporting, designing, and tracking the progress of projects. It also demonstrated how the tool could aid in quality improvement.
The Preventable Hospitalization Costs and Mapping Tool is a software program that shows selected AHRQ Quality Indicators for individual States by county and estimates cost savings associated with reducing potentially avoidable hospitalizations in those counties. The tool can help health care policymakers and other key stakeholders analyze their own hospital inpatient discharge data in order to assess the magnitude of problems they face. Users can easily identify where and which Prevention Quality Indicators (PQIs) need improvement to reduce potentially preventable hospitalizations and medical errors.
Following the Web conference, staff at Connecticut's OHCA expressed interest in using the Mapping Tool to enhance their work tracking preventable hospitalizations. After taking advantage of one-on-one technical assistance offered by the Quality Diagnostic Tools for States project, OHCA published a report titled, Preventable Hospitalizations and Associated Costs in Connecticut, 2007. A companion databook was published to supplement the report.
The Connecticut report integrates data and maps from the Preventable Hospitalization Costs and Mapping Tool. By identifying geographic areas with the highest density of preventable hospitalizations, the report shows where interventions may have the biggest impact in reducing PQI admissions and maximizing potential cost savings.
Olga Armah, MPhil, Associate Research Analyst, says, ""The Mapping Tool helped OHCA mine our discharge data to provide more information on the quality of our health care system in Connecticut. The AHRQ tool provides a visual representation of geographic areas in which to focus and, in conjunction with the companion databook, assists in designing interventions.""
The Connecticut report and companion databook have been shared with Governor M. Jodi Rell, State legislators, various State agencies, hospital executives, and other health care industry representatives.