Feds Identify Areas with Fastest Quality Improvement

All of the ten quality measures showing the most rapid pace of improvement nationwide are indicators featured on the federal Hospital-Compare and Nursing Home-Compare websites, according to findings from the annual healthcare disparities study released this spring by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (AHRQ). Additionally, most of these measures are, or were recently, focus areas of the federally-funded QIO program. Two of the measures registering the most rapid improvement are focus areas of the current QIO Surgical Site Infection initiative (the timing of prophylactic antibiotic administration and discontinuance), and another two are focus areas of the current QIO Care Transitions work (written instructions and ACE/ARB prescriptions for hearts patients at hospital discharge). The other six areas showing the fastest improvement address influenza screening and pneumococcal vaccination of hospital patients and nursing home residents-areas QIOs concentrated on in their recent Medicare workplans. Of the ten quality areas where AHRQ finds the most rapid deterioration in performance nationwide, three relate to diabetes management and four relate to adverse events in healthcare facilities. In terms of “snap shots” of performance by individual states, AHRQ ranks New York among the five top states for performance on preventive care. For a copy of the National Healthcare Disparities Report, 2011, visit the AHRQ website at www.ahrq.gov.