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AHRQ issues quality, disparities reports
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) on April 13 released the 2009 National Healthcare Quality Report and the National Healthcare Disparities Report, which are used by a variety of health care stakeholders to evaluate quality and access to care.
Lt. Karen Ho, lead staff at AHRQ, says the findings were fairly consistent with previous years; however, since the reports have only been published since 2003, it is difficult to detect trends in the data. The reports are mandated by Congress.
"Despite promising improvements in a few area of health care, we are not achieving the more substantial strikes that are needed to address persistent gaps in quality and access," said AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, MD, in an AHRQ news release. "Targeted AHRQ-funded research in Michigan has shown that infection rates of HAIs can be radically reduced. We are now working to make sure that happens in all hospitals."
For example, rates of postoperative sepsis increased by 8%. And according to the press release, although rates are improving incrementally, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and American Indians are less likely than whites to receive preventive antibiotics before surgery in a timely manner.