Wyoming Becomes HCUP Partner After AHRQ Workshop
After attending a workshop offered by the AHRQ Knowledge Transfer Quality Diagnostic Tools for States project, the team of participants from Wyoming's Department of Health decided to pursue their State's participation in AHRQ's Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) partnership. The State Healthcare Quality Improvement Workshop—held in January 2008—featured several AHRQ products and State health care quality improvement tools and demonstrated how they could be used to highlight quality issues and improve quality of care.
As a result of the AHRQ workshop, the team from Wyoming met with officials from the Wyoming Department of Health and with the Wyoming Hospital Association to encourage participation of their State in HCUP. Consequently, the Wyoming Hospital Association officially joined the HCUP partnership in July 2008 and added its State's data to HCUPnet. HCUPnet is the free online query system maintained by AHRQ providing national and regional data on hospital and emergency department utilization, as well as quality-of-care information. In addition, State-level data is presented for those HCUP partner States that agree to include their data in HCUPnet.
Since joining HCUP, James Bush, MD, Wyoming's Medicaid Medical Director, and Joe Grandpre, PhD, MPH, Deputy State Epidemiologist and Chronic Disease Section Chief for the Wyoming Department of Health, have been able to analyze the State's data in HCUPnet. They have used the data in discussions with their hospital advisory committees, as well as in answering the governor's queries about the costs of hospital stays.
Bush sees increased utility in the tool as more of Wyoming's data is added. He notes, "I think value increases as we get more than one year of data; we can start to see trends."
The Wyoming team noted that the AHRQ meeting was very influential to the State's decision to share data with HCUP and HCUPnet. The workshop motivated the Wyoming team to approach their colleagues at the Wyoming Department of Health and the Wyoming Hospital Association about joining HCUP.