AHRQ Views: Blog posts from AHRQ leaders
A Tip of the Cap to Researchers' Outstanding Use of AHRQ Data
AHRQ researchers really know data. They collect them. They analyze them. They help get them into the hands of policymakers, health system leaders, purchasers, clinicians, researchers, and others who use these data for many purposes—not only to keep pace with health care trends, but also to improve the care that patients receive.
Once a year, AHRQ and AcademyHealth are pleased to recognize the researchers whose peer-reviewed journal articles make the best use of data from one of AHRQ's primary data sources—the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP).
This year, two research teams received AHRQ–AcademyHealth HCUP Outstanding Article of the Year awards. I had the honor to present the awards at AcademyHealth's recent Annual Research Meeting, and both efforts were exceptional:
- For clinical research: A team led by investigators at the Smith Center for Outcomes Research in Cardiology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, and the Saint Luke's Mid-America Heart Institute examined nationwide 30-day readmission rates for peripheral arterial disease revascularization in 2014 and whether risk of readmission varied among hospitals. The team looked at more than 60,000 discharges at more than 1,000 acute care hospitals that are included in the HCUP's Nationwide Readmission Database. The researchers found the overall 30-day readmission rate to be nearly 18 percent, with procedural complications (28 percent) and sepsis (8 percent) being the most common causes for readmission. After accounting for the case mix of patients, the risk of 30-day readmission rate moderately varied across hospitals. The researchers suggested that hospital quality may only partially account for risk of readmissions, and that other factors such as post-discharge care should be examined. The article, "Readmissions After Revascularization Procedures for Peripheral Arterial Disease: A Nationwide Cohort Study," was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
- For health policy research: Researchers from several institutions—the David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles; the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan; the University of Illinois; the University of Chicago; and the National Bureau of Economic Research—investigated how Medicaid eligibility among children may impact their likelihood of adult hospitalizations. Drawing on data from HCUP's State Inpatient Databases and State Emergency Department Databases, the team found that more years of childhood eligibility are associated with fewer adult hospitalizations. Notably, black children who were eligible for Medicaid had a 7 to 15 percent decrease in adult hospitalizations. A similar effect was not found among non-blacks. The article, "Childhood Medicaid Coverage and Later-Life Health Care Utilization," was published in The Review of Economics and Statistics.
Choosing the most outstanding articles of the year is never easy. To date, over 6,000 peer-reviewed articles cite HCUP data. With data beginning in 1988, HCUP offers the Nation's largest collection of longitudinal hospital care data, including information on inpatient care, ambulatory care, and emergency department visits.
We’re also mindful that HCUP is just one of many AHRQ data sources that help experts keep abreast of health care trends and improve care. The Agency's Medical Expenditure Panel Survey is the only national data source measuring how Americans use and pay for medical care, health insurance, and out-of-pocket spending. Our National Quality & Disparities Report, along with our State Snapshots, each year provide updated measures on trends related to the access, timeliness, and effectiveness of care; patient safety; and patient centeredness. And AHRQ's Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS®) collects voluntarily submitted survey results on patients' experience with health, which are stored in the CAHPS Database.
We applaud the many skilled, devoted health services researchers who consistently use AHRQ's data platforms to examine the rapid changes in health care, as well as their commitment to making a difference in patients' lives. Again, congratulations to the winners of this year's HCUP Articles of the Year award. We look forward to seeing the submissions next year!
Herbert Wong is the Director of the Division of Markets and Systems Research in AHRQ's Center for Delivery, Organizations, and Markets.