Only 44% of quality measures have improved since 2000: AHRQ 

A refreshed federal report shows the healthcare industry's efforts to improve care quality is lagging, with only 44 percent of quality measures improving over the past two decades. 

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in early March updated its "Chartbook on Patient Safety," which provides a comprehensive overview of healthcare quality in the U.S. The report is based on more than 440 measures of quality and disparities across the healthcare industry, and data generally covers 2000 through 2022.

Of 176 quality measures that include at least four data points — which AHRQ requires to conduct a trends analysis — 43.8 percent improved. Another 48.8 percent remained unchanged, and 7.4 percent worsened. 

Twenty-nine of the 176 quality measures covered patient safety metrics. Of these, 17 have improved from 2002, 2013 or 2014 through 2019 or 2020. The three measures with the largest rate of improvement covered rates of postoperative respiratory failure, prolonged ventilation or reintubation; urinary tract infection rates among long-stay nursing home residents; and pressure ulcer rates among short-stay nursing home patients. 

The patient safety metrics that remained unchanged involved home health communication about medication, surgical care outcomes and maternal health outcomes. Only one measure worsened overall, and that was the percentage of patients who said a home healthcare provider asked about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications they were taking during their first home visit. 

See the full report here.

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