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AHRQ's 2007 State Snapshots Provide Broader Portraits of State-By-State Health Care Performance
Date:3/26/2008

ROCKVILLE, Md., March 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- An annual analysis to help health leaders identify areas of health care delivery that need quality improvement now includes important information such as each state's rate of obesity, health insurance coverage, mental illness and the number of specialist doctors.

Those and other measures - called "state contextual factors" - are part of the 2007 State Snapshots released today by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The updated State Snapshots Web tool also tracks states' progress toward reaching government-set health goals for 2010.

"This year's State Snapshots do more than illustrate the wide variations in health care quality among states," said AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D. "They also show a handful of the important challenges that states face as they work to improve the quality of care."

As in previous years, the 51 State Snapshots - every state plus Washington, D.C. - summarize health care quality in three dimensions: type of care (such as preventive, acute or chronic care), setting of care (such as nursing homes or hospitals), and by clinical areas (such as care for patients with cancer or diabetes). The evaluations are expressed in simple, five-color "performance meter" illustrations that rate performance from "very weak" to "very strong." Users may explore whether a state has improved or worsened compared to other states in several areas of health care delivery.

Users can get more detailed portraits of each state's performance by exploring the State Snapshots' 149 separate measures of quality. Those measures range from preventing pressure sores to screening for diabetes-related foot problems to giving recommended care to pneumonia patients.

Finally, the State Snapshots provide state rankings for 15 "selected measures." These rankings show that no state does well or poorly in all areas. Texas, for example, ranked 4th best at
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SOURCE Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality
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