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The overall quality of healthcare 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 2014 National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).
Hospital care was safer in 2013 than in 2010, with 17% 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 (2011-2013). However, quality is still far from optimal, AHRQ reports, with millions of patients harmed by the care they receive and only 70% 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.
The report provides a snapshot of healthcare 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 most of the health insurance expansions included in the Affordable Care Act, the report serves as a baseline for measuring progress in future years.
The full report is available online at http://tinyurl.com/kkq3gru.