State Snapshots

The State Snapshots Tool contains 51 snapshots—every State plus Washington, D.C.—which summarize health care quality in three dimensions: type of care (such as preventive, acute, or chronic care), setting of care (such as nursing homes or hospitals), and clinical areas (such as care for patients with cancer or diabetes). The evaluations are expressed in simple, five-color "performance meter" illustrations that rate performance from "very weak" to "very strong." State leaders may explore whether their State has improved or worsened compared to other States in several areas of health care delivery.

What Does This Tool Do?

State leaders can use this tool to measure their State's health care quality performance. The tool will help State leaders:

  • Determine their State's performance on up to 129 health care quality measures.
  • Compare their State's health care quality standing with all other States.
  • Identify high-performing States for networking and best practice sharing.
  • Pinpoint statewide health care quality weaknesses to better target improvement initiatives.

What Can This Tool Tell States About Their Performance?

The State Snapshots are dashboards of health care quality measures, providing State officials with State-specific health care quality information. The goal is to help State officials and their public- and private-sector partners better understand health care quality and disparities in their State. The tool gives users a summary overview of their State's performance and allows them to drill down to the individual component measures of that summary. The easy access to the individual measures helps States more accurately identify their strengths and weaknesses, thereby highlighting targeted areas for improvement.

Who Should Use This Tool?

This tool can be used by:

  • State health officials and executive branch officials (State health departments, Medicaid officials, benefit managers for State employees, etc.).
  • State elected leaders – governors and legislators.
  • Nongovernmental State and local health care leaders (professional societies, provider associations, hospital associations, quality improvement organizations, voluntary health organizations, health plans, business coalitions, community organizations, and consumer groups).

How Does the Tool Work?

The State Snapshots are available online. The data are displayed in easy-to-read graphs and in detailed and customized tables for each State.

What Data Sources Are Used?

The State-level information used to create the State Snapshots is based on data collected for the National Healthcare Quality Report (NHQR). These data are updated annually, allowing States to track their yearly progress on the various measures. The State Snapshots include up to 149 quality measures, which are grouped into the following categories:

  • Type of care (preventative, acute, chronic)
  • Setting of care (hospital, ambulatory, nursing home, home health)
  • Care by clinical area (cancer, diabetes, heart disease, maternal and child health, respiratory disease)

Would This Tool Be Useful For My State?

The State Snapshots can be of great value to you in your quality improvement efforts if you are interested in any of the following questions:

  • Do you know how well your State performs on quality compared with other States?
  • Do you know where your State is performing particularly well on health care quality?
  • Do you know where your State is underperforming on health care quality?
  • Do you know the prevalence of common diseases or conditions in your State? Do you know whether the trend in prevalence is increasing, decreasing, or staying constant?
  • Do you know how this tool interfaces with other AHRQ products, such as the Asthma Care Quality Improvement Resource Guide and Workbook?
  • Do you have access to State-specific quality performance data to better inform your initiative prioritization process?

What are States Saying?

"We gratefully acknowledge the technical assistance provided by various teams at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), including members with the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP), the U.S. National Healthcare Reports team, and staff in the AHRQ Public Affairs Office." Utah DOH

How Can I Obtain the Tool?

The State Snapshots are available online at: http://statesnapshots.ahrq.gov/snaps10/.

Current as of January 2012
Internet Citation: State Snapshots. January 2012. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/research/findings/factsheets/tools/statesnapshots/index.html