EBM and Clinical Support Librarians@UCHC

A blog for medical students, faculty and librarians about their use of evidence based medicine, clinical literature, Web 2.0, sources and search strategies

News, Public Health: AHRQ releases two key annual reports

The Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (AHRQ), a division of U.S. Health & Human Services, released in Feb 2008 two major annual reports about the current quality, efficiencies and timeliness of healthcare delivery in the United States. The Agency declares that “these reports present, in chart form, the latest available findings on quality of and access to health care“.

National Healthcare Quality Report 2007“, compares healthcare actually delivered against standardized quality measures or guidelines. Following is an excerpt from the Preface of this report:

One of the key functions of the NHQR report is to track the Nation’s progress in providing safe healthcare. Five years after the first NHQR – and seven years after the Institute of Medicine’s landmark publication To Err Is Human in 1999 – it is still difficult to document progress, although more information than ever now exists on patient safety. From 2000 to 2005, patient safety [in the U.S.] improved at an annual rate of only 1%.

A companion report to the above, “National Healthcare Disparities Report 2007” states in the introduction that three key themes emerge in the Feb 2008 release:

  • 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“.

Both of these reports are available full-text to download at AHRQs’ Measuring Healthcare Quality website. On that website are also previous editions of these two AHRQ reports, and others sponsored by the agency. There is no cost involved to download any of these materials.

A related site which may be of interest is one that breaks recent initiatives or public health programs down by state.  It is available at “AHRQ Programs & Projects on Quality and Safety, by State” (link).

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