State-specific healthcare data released today revealed widespread shortcomings in healthcare quality nationwide along with promising improvements.
The new State Snapshots released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found that on average, only about 59% of Medicare-insured adult surgery patients received appropriate timing of antibiotics. Only about 54% of men over age 50 reported they ever had a flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy, and only about 54% of Medicare managed-care patients said their health providers always listened carefully, explained things clearly, showed respect for what they had to say, and spent enough time with them.
The snapshots, which include every state plus the District of Columbia, are based on 129 quality measures, each of which evaluates a different segment of healthcare performance. A subset of 15 selected measures was chosen to rank states on common diseases. Montana ranked first for pneumonia vaccinations for seniors, and Utah ranked first for its low colorectal cancer death rate.
It is clear that the nation must continue pursuing important opportunities to improve the quality of healthcare, AHRQ Director Carolyn Clancy said in a news release. The snapshots help policymakers understand the breadth of those problems and how their states compare with others. With that knowledge, they are better equipped to take vital steps that will improve the health of people in their states, she said. -- by Jennifer Lubell