Rural Health Care Still Subpar for Most Quality Measures, Data Show

Issue 490
AHRQ's Electronic Newsletter summarizes Agency research and programmatic activities.
October 13, 2015

AHRQ Stats: Electronic Health Records

In 2012, nearly 31 percent of hospitals exchanged information electronically with other hospitals about patient medication histories—up from 13 percent in 2009. (Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2014 National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report Chartbook on Care Coordination.)

Today's Headlines

  1. Rural Health Care Still Subpar for Most Quality Measures, Data Show.
  2. New Guide Explores Practice-Based Research Networks' Potential To Support Accountable Care Organizations, Public Health Departments.
  3. More Patients Getting Effective Treatment, but Progress Lags for Managing Chronic Diseases.
  4. Register Now: November 17-18 Conference on Cancer Care Delivery.
  5. Featured Impact Case Study: Iowa Health Center Uses AHRQ Tools To Improve Patient Safety.
  6. AHRQ in the Professional Literature.

1. Rural Health Care Still Subpar for Most Quality Measures, Data Show

For about 30 percent of quality measures, residents of rural areas—about 17 percent of Americans—receive lower-quality health care and have worse outcomes compared with residents of more populated areas, according to AHRQ's Chartbook on Rural Health. The Chartbook is part of the 2014 AHRQ National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report, which tracks trends in effectiveness and timeliness of care, patient safety, patient-centeredness, disparities and efficiency of care. The Chartbook on Rural Health shows that 46 percent of health care quality measures improved over time in rural areas, but disparities remain. Through 2012, using the most recent data available, disparities were most common among measures such as wellness checkups for children and cancer screenings for adults. Measures improved slightly for suicide and postoperative sepsis. Compared with other Americans, residents of rural counties tend to be older, poorer and sicker, with chronic conditions that limit their activities. Furthermore, life expectancy in the United States decreases in areas that are most rural. Those living in large metropolitan areas had a life expectancy of 79.1 years, compared with 76.7 years for those in rural areas. For more information on rural health and policy-related research, visit the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy.

2. New Guide Explores Practice-Based Research Networks' Potential To Support Accountable Care Organizations, Public Health Departments

A new guide from AHRQ highlights strategies that practice-based research networks (PBRNs) may use to identify potential training and technical assistance arrangements with other health care groups, including Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and public health departments. ACOs and other health entities are increasingly required to initiate, assess and report quality improvement efforts. AHRQ's new guide is designed to help organizations benefit from PBRNs real-world analytical skills to assess and address quality improvement opportunities. The guide, Practice-Based Research Network (PBRN) Business Opportunities with ACOs and Other Health Care Systems: Training and Technical Assistance, is among tools and resources offered by AHRQ's Practice-Based Research Networks.

3. More Patients Getting Effective Treatment, but Progress Lags for Managing Chronic Diseases

More patients are getting the right treatment at the right time for their health condition, but progress remains modest for patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes and asthma, according to AHRQ's recently released Chartbook on Effective Treatment. Overall, about half of the 46 measures of effective treatment showed improvement. Nine of those measures reached optimal performance, including two related to effective treatment for heart disease—providing percutaneous coronary intervention to heart attack patients within 90 minutes and prescribing certain classes of drugs to treat heart disease upon hospital discharge. Meanwhile, four measures worsened over time, including two measures related to effective management of diabetes and one measure of regular use of medications to prevent asthma attacks. Research summaries for clinicians on management of diabetes and management of heart and blood conditions  are available from AHRQ's Effective Health Care program.

4. Register Now: November 17-18 Conference on Cancer Care Delivery

Registration is open for ECRI Institute’s 22nd Annual Conference on the Use of Evidence in Policy and Practice. The conference, with support from AHRQ and others, is co-sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and will focus on cancer care delivery in a rapidly changing health care system. Conference attendees will hear from CEOs of major hospital systems on how they are changing their approaches to cancer care delivery. The conference is November 17–18 at the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Maryland. Registration is free but required.

5. Featured Impact Case Study: Iowa Health Center Uses AHRQ Tools To Improve Patient Safety

Waverly Health Center, a critical access hospital in Waverly, Iowa, has used three AHRQ resources—the Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program (CUSP), TeamSTEPPS®, and the Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture—to increase patient safety. Approximately 97 percent of the staff have been trained in TeamSTEPPS, and the hospital saved about $605,000 in 2014 with improvements to its infection prevention program. The case study is available here.

6. AHRQ in the Professional Literature

Navar-Boggan AM, Rymer JA, Piccini JP, et al. Accuracy and validation of an automated electronic algorithm to identify patients with atrial fibrillation at risk for stroke. Am Heart J 2015 Jan;169(1):39-44.e2. Epub 2014 Oct 22. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Herrin J, da Graca B, Aponte P, et al. Impact of an EHR-based diabetes management form on quality and outcomes of diabetes care in primary care practices. Am J Med Qual 2015 Jan-Feb;30(1):14-22. Epub 2014 Jan 7. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Shaikh U, Berrong J, Nettiksimmons J, et al. Impact of electronic health record clinical decision support on the management of pediatric obesity. Am J Med Qual 2015 Jan-Feb;30(1):72-80. Epub 2014 Jan 13. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Green LA, Potworowski G, Day A, et al. Sustaining "meaningful use" of health information technology in low-resource practices. Ann Fam Med. 2015 Jan-Feb;13(1):17-22. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Abdelsattar ZM, Krapohl G, Alrahmani L, et al. Postoperative burden of hospital-acquired Clostridium difficile infection. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2015 Jan; 36(1):40-6. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Leeman J, Teal R, Jernigan J, et al. What evidence and support do state-level public health practitioners need to address obesity prevention. Am J Health Promot 2014 Jan-Feb; 28(3):189-96. Epub 2013 Apr 26. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Strohl AE, Mendoza G, Ghant MS, et al Barriers to prevention: knowledge of HPV, cervical cancer, and HPV vaccinations among African American women. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2015 Jan; 212(1):65.e1-5. Epub 2014 Jun 28. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Smith SS, Ference EH, Evans CT, et al. The prevalence of bacterial infection in acute rhinosinusitis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Laryngoscope 2015 Jan; 125(1):57-69. Epub 2014 Sep 17. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

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Page last reviewed October 2015
Page originally created October 2015
Internet Citation: Rural Health Care Still Subpar for Most Quality Measures, Data Show. Content last reviewed October 2015. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/e-newsletter/490.html