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AHRQ Highlights State-By-State Data on Quality of Care

APRIL 1, 2005 — The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality announced online access Monday to data on how each state in the nation measures up on 14 standards of health care quality. The data allow each state to compare how it rates with national averages as well as with other states. AHRQ Administrator Dr. Carolyn Clancy shied away from naming individual states in announcing the online access. "This is not about ranking state health care systems from top to bottom on quality of care," she said.

"The picture is much too complex for that. There is no 'best state' or 'worst state.' Improvement is needed in every state."
As an example of how much states can improve, Clancy noted that "patients in the leading states are getting care at a level of quality that is many times higher than the lowest performing states. For example, nursing home residents were physically restrained at a rate almost 10 times higher in the lowest performing state, compared with the highest performing state."
The measures cover cancer, heart, respiratory and other diseases, as well as levels of preventive care. For example, the percentage of women receiving prenatal care in the first three months of pregnancy varied from 69 percent to 91 percent.

AHRQ wants to connect those who are improving health care "with those who still need the road map to improvement," she said Monday. "That's why today, I'm committing a million dollars this year to a new initiative—AHRQ QualityConnect—to help uncover what works and share 'lessons learned' with those at the front line of improvement."

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