Report: Quality of care increases slowly

A new report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality concludes that healthcare quality improvements are slowing. The agency, which has been compiling quality data for five years, reported that according to their composite measure, healthcare quality improved at a 2.3 percent average annualized rate between 1994 and 2005. However, the rate fell to 1.5 percent from 2000 to 2005. (It previously found that patient safety was inching along as well, with measures showing only 1 percent improvement during the latter timespan.) Meanwhile, it found that CMS-estimated costs climbed 6.7 percent from 1994 to 2005.

That being said, there were some bright spots in the report. The percentage of heart attack patients who received smoking cessation counseling shot up from 42.7 percent in 2000-01 to 90.9 percent in 2005. And potentially avoidable hospitalizations fell 8 percent between 2000 and 2004.

To learn more about the report:
- read this AMNews piece

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