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AHRQ: Good news, bad news on gender discrepancies

Although there are signs of improvement in some conditions, differences in the quality of health care provided to men and women continue to persist, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHQ).

The good news is that:

  • In 2004, about as many women with Medicare (85%) received recommended care in the hospital after a heart attack as male Medicare patients (86%). As recently as 2002, only 79% of female Medicare patients received the recommended treatment after a heart attack, compared to 81% of male Medicare patients. Heart disease is the leading cause of death among both women and men.
  • Women were more likely than men to have a usual source of ongoing health care in 2004 (90% compared with 83%). Across all income level groups and for most racial and ethnic groups, women reported having a usual source of ongoing care more often than men. A usual source of care is associated with lower costs and improved health outcomes.

However, there is bad news:

  • Women were more likely than men to be hospitalized for high blood pressure in 2003 — 56 vs. 38 per 100,000 population. Hospitalization for high blood pressure can usually be avoided if patients have good quality primary care.