Rural Health Care Still Subpar for Most Quality Measures, Data Show
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.)
- Rural Health Care Still Subpar for Most Quality Measures, Data Show.
- New Guide Explores Practice-Based Research Networks' Potential To Support Accountable Care Organizations, Public Health Departments.
- More Patients Getting Effective Treatment, but Progress Lags for Managing Chronic Diseases.
- Register Now: November 17-18 Conference on Cancer Care Delivery.
- Featured Impact Case Study: Iowa Health Center Uses AHRQ Tools To Improve Patient Safety.
- AHRQ in the Professional Literature.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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Page originally created October 2015