iLoveBenefits: Industry News Blog

Quality of Care and Patient Safety Are Improving, Particularly for Hospital Care, Though Additional Work Remains

New AHRQ Report:

The overall quality of health care and patient safety are improving, particularly for hospital care and for measures that are being publicly reported by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, according to the newly released 2014 National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Among the highlights in this year’s report:

  • Hospital care was safer in 2013 than in 2010, with 17 percent fewer harms to patients and an estimated 1.3 million fewer hospital-acquired conditions, 50,000 fewer deaths, and $12 billion in cost savings over three years (2011, 2012, 2013). However, quality is still far from optimal, with millions of patients harmed by the care they receive, and only 70 percent of recommended care being delivered across a broad array of quality measures.
  • A few disparities among racial groups for services such as childhood vaccinations have been reduced to zero; however, much additional work remains to address a broad range of other disparities affecting quality of care.

This year’s report has been consolidated and tracks performance measures that align with the National Quality Strategy. Chartbooks on specific topics such as patient safety and care coordination will be issued in coming months to provide more detailed information and easy-to-understand slides that can be downloaded for presentations.

The report provides a snapshot of health care quality and disparities based on trend analyses from 2000-2002 to 2011-2012 (except for select measures of access to care tracked through the first half of 2014, and for adverse events in hospitals tracked through 2013). Because most data precede implementation of a majority of the health insurance expansions included in the Affordable Care Act, the report serves as a baseline for measuring progress in future years.

Select here to download your complimentary copy of the report. To order a print copy, email or call 1-800-358-9295.

The next big issue: use of socioeconomic status in health care

Socioeconomic status, functional ability affect readmission risk, data show Socioeconomic status and functional capacity at home influence a patient’s risk for readmission, and adjusting for these factors addresses some variation in clinical readmission rates, according to research reported in Health Affairs. The Establishing Beneficiary Equity in the Hospital Readmission Program Act, introduced by Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Ohio, would address differences in patient populations that affect readmission risk. The Hospitalist

2011 State Snapshots – health care quality and disparities

With an emphasis on quality performance measurement, 2011 State Snapshots is an interactive Web-based tool — — designed to provide State officials, health care leaders, and others with health care quality and disparities data so they can take steps to address gaps in quality care and access to services.


The 2011 State Snapshots, developed with data from the National Healthcare Quality Report and National Healthcare Disparities Report, are designed to illustrate three questions of critical importance to all Americans today:


  • What is the current state of health care quality and disparities in my State?
  • How have health care quality and disparities changed over time?
  • Where is the need to improve health care quality and reduce disparities greatest?

To view the states and their report cards click here:

Doing more on racial / ethnic disparities is essential to improving health and health care

According to a recent survey of hospitals regarding their initiatives to reduce racial/ethnic healthcare disparities:

  • 60%      have analyzed the supply and demand for language services
  • 80%      have a standardized mechanism to translate hospital-related documents into      languages that are most prevalent among visitors and patients
  • 62%      conduct patient interviews or surveys to obtain patient satisfaction data      for improving services for diverse populations
  • 61%      have a standardized system to collect feedback from patients with language      needs
  • 61%      require all employees to attend diversity training

Source: “Diversity & Disparities: A Benchmark Study of U.S. Hospitals,” American Hospital Association and Institute for Diversity in Health Management, June 2012,

June 19, 2012 | Categories: healthcare,hospitals | Tags: , , | Comments (0)

Is technology going to create greater health disparities

Doctors’ Digital Divide Could Widen Health Care Disparities
A recent journal article explored the potential for health IT to bridge the deficiencies in minority health care and overcome lower adoption by providers in minority communities. [ American Medical News | Feb 14

Erasing Disparities in Care

Heart association guidelines erase disparities in care
Hospitals using the “Get With the Guidelines” program from the American Heart Association eliminated racial and ethnic disparities and improved overall care for heart attack patients, researchers said. The guidelines include giving heart attack patients aspirin and blood pressure- and cholesterol-lowering medications, as well as helping people improve lifestyle habits. HealthDay News (5/17)

Eliminating Disparities in Health and Health Care

The Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform recently hosted a national conference to begin addressing health care quality issues faced by vulnerable communities. The event, “Charting a Course for Health Care Quality Improvement: Data-Driven Strategies for Eliminating Health Disparities,” brought together key stakeholders to identify best practices for collecting and reporting race, ethnicity, and primary language data, as well as to determine practical, consensus-driven steps to measure and use these data to improve quality of care. Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin delivered keynote remarks at the event. Learn more and watch the archived Webcast

April 17, 2010 | Categories: healthcare,quality | Tags: , , , | Comments (0)

IOM: News Report

Future Directions for the National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Reports

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s annual National Healthcare Quality Report (NHQR) and National Healthcare Disparities Report (NHDR) reveal areas in which health care performance has improved over time and identify major shortcomings. The IOM concludes that the next generation of reports can be improved in ways that would make them more influential in promoting change in the health care system.

More Information >>

April 15, 2010 | Categories: healthcare,quality,Research | Tags: , , | Comments (0)