Healthcare News & Insights

See how your state’s hospitals measure up with AHRQ healthcare snapshots

Want to find out how hospitals in your state compare to others nationwide? Check out the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s recently released annual state snapshots report for 2011.

The snapshots compare the healthcare performance of each state, highlighting areas where gains have been made or where improvement is needed.

Each state receives both a national score and a regional score, depending on how its performance measures up.

Info used to create the snapshots was taken from data collected for the National Healthcare Quality Report.

The tool is helpful in seeing how your state ranks among other states and to find out how healthcare systems in other states are succeeding in improving patient care.

A hospital looking to reduce infection rates, for example, can see which states have the lowest instances of postoperative sepsis. Then, it can base its approach on that of high-performing healthcare systems in those states.

Hospitals can also compare their state’s performance to states with similar demographics and healthcare resources.

Data from the AHRQ snapshots can also influence state and federal health agencies as they create healthcare policies, so it’s good to have a leg up on what areas may be targeted for improvement in the future.

This year, the AHRQ rated the states using 171 measures, a 30% increase from last year, falling under the categories of overall health care quality, types and settings of care, and various clinical conditions.

Of particular interest to hospitals is the focus on payor section, which includes info about how measures of quality patient care compare across patients with various types of insurance (e.g., private insurance versus Medicaid), including potentially avoidable complications and inpatient mortality rates.

Another section in each snapshot analyzes the variation over time of the rate of hospital admissions for both acute and chronic conditions, comparing each state’s performance to the performance of the nation.

The snapshots also feature special focus areas on how state healthcare systems are managing patients with asthma and diabetes, and how each state is doing with caring for patients in light of economic disparities.

Additionally, the snapshots highlight how states are progressing toward meeting various quality measures for the U.S. government’s Healthy People 2020 initiative, including increasing the life expectancy and quality of life for patients with various health conditions such as cancer and heart disease.

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