Understanding State Variation in Health Care Performance

eAlert 9c657b63-ba44-4565-86d9-6e1b6bc9a671

<p>In the recent update of its annual <em>National Healthcare Quality Report</em> (NHQR), the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality finds that improvements in the quality of care, while impressive in certain areas, are not occurring on a number of the 42 core measures of quality examined by the report. Moreover, improvements are highly variable across the states.<br><br>A <a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=27256&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecmwf%2Eorg%2Fpublications%2Fpublications%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D468773%26%23doc468773">new Data Brief</a> from The Commonwealth Fund's Commission on a High Performance Health System analyzes some of the state variation in performance described in the NHQR and provides insight into possible causes. Authors Stephen Schoenbaum, M.D., Douglas McCarthy, and Cathy Schoen also discuss some of the changes that are needed to realize consistent, broad improvements in performance: a well-organized health care system, expanded access to care, and achievable targets for quality.<br><br>"Care will remain far from what it could be, given the substantial U.S. investment," say the authors, "until there are not only national performance reports but also national standards and performance benchmarks."</p>