Future Directions for the National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Reports

B. Key Findings of the NHQRs and NHDRs

The Future Directions committee scanned key messages from each year of the NHQR (Table B-1) and the NHDR (Table B-2) to evaluate the content of these messages. Each year's statements are variations on similar themes: that the quality of health care is suboptimal, that the pace of improvement is slow, and that disparities persist. The committee recommends reformulating the Highlights section of the reports, where such key messages are presented, to be more focused on priority areas, and geared toward future actions. Accordingly, key messages should be more targeted and action-oriented.


Table B-1. Key Findings of the National Healthcare Quality Report from 2003 to 2008, by Year

2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008

Greater improvement is possible.

High quality health care is not yet a universal reality.

Opportunities for preventive care are frequently missed.

Management of chronic diseases presents unique quality challenges.

There is more to learn.

Quality is improving in many areas, but change takes time.

The gap between the best possible care and actual care remains large.

Further improvement in health care is possible.

Health care quality continues to improve at a modest pace across most measures of quality.

Health care quality improvement is variable, with notable areas of high performance.

Health care quality is improving, but more remains to be done to achieve optimal quality.

Sustained rates of quality improvement are possible.

Most measures of quality are improving, but the pace of change remains modest.

Variation in health care quality remains high.

The rate of improvement accelerated for some measures while a few continued to show deterioration.

Quality improvement varies by setting and phase of care.

Health care quality continues to improve, but the rate of improvement has slowed.

Variation in quality of health care across the Nation is decreasing, but not for all measures.

The safety of health care has improved since 2000, but more needs to be done.

Health care quality is suboptimal and continues to improve at a slow pace.

Reporting of hospital quality is leading improvement, but patient safety is lagging.

Health care quality measurement is evolving, but much work remains.

Source: AHRQ, National Healthcare Quality Reports, 2003-2008.


Table B-2. Key Findings of the National Healthcare Disparities Report from 2003 to 2008, by Year

2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008

Inequality in quality persists.

Improvement is possible.

Data limitations hinder targeted improvement efforts.

Differential access may lead to disparities in quality.

Knowledge of why disparities exist is limited.

Disparities come at a personal and societal price.

Opportunities to provide preventive care are frequently missed.

Disparities are pervasive.

Improvement is possible.

Gaps in information exist, especially for specific conditions and populations.

Disparities still exist Some disparities are diminishing.

Opportunities for improvement remain.

Information about disparities is improving.

Disparities remain prevalent.

Some disparities are diminishing while others are increasing.

Opportunities for reducing disparities remain.

Information about disparities is improving, but gaps still exist.

Overall, disparities in health care quality and access are not getting smaller.

Progress is being made, but many of the biggest gaps in quality and access have not been reduced.

The problem of persistent uninsurance is a major barrier to reducing disparities.

Disparities persist in health care quality.

Magnitude and pattern of disparities are different within subpopulations.

Some disparities exist across multiple priority populations

Source: AHRQ, National Healthcare Disparities Reports, 2003-2008.

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Page last reviewed October 2014
Page originally created September 2012
Internet Citation: B. Key Findings of the NHQRs and NHDRs. Content last reviewed October 2014. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/research/findings/final-reports/iomqrdrreport/futureqrdrapb.html