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Press Release Date: November 3, 2000
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) today announced that it will develop the first-ever annual report on the quality of health care in the United States, as called for in AHRQ's reauthorization legislation, which became law in December 1999. The goal of the report, due out in 2003, is to provide a clear, easily understood picture of the quality of health care in America and to highlight areas where improvement is needed.
"The development of a national report on health care quality is an important step in improving the quality of the Nation's health care system," said John M. Eisenberg, M.D., AHRQ's Director. "This report fulfills the recommendation of the President's Quality Commission for a national initiative to monitor the quality of American health care. It also reflects the vision of Congress that the health care system have data on where it is doing well and where it needs to improve."
An expert committee, convened by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), will identify the most important questions to answer in evaluating whether the health care system is providing high quality health care. These questions include the domains of information that should be produced; examples of specific measures that fall into each domain; and how to track whether quality is improving over time.
The IOM expects to complete work on the framework by May 2001. Criteria for choosing measures of quality of care will be taken from existing measurement efforts, such as the National Committee for Quality Assurance's HEDIS project; standards published by the Joint Committee on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations; and information from Federal agencies and partners, such as the Health Care Financing Administration. This information will be modified to reflect the unique characteristics of the National Quality Report.
The project is being led by AHRQ with collaboration from the National Center for Health Statistics. An interagency work group will develop the final content and design of the report. Other members of the work group include the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation of the Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Health Care Financing Administration, the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Editor's Note: For further information about the National Quality Report, contact Thomas Reilly, Ph.D. (TReilly@ahrq.gov), who is the Director of the National Quality Report and works in AHRQ's Center for Quality Measurement and Improvement.
For more information, contact AHRQ Public Affairs (301) 427-1364: Joanne Alexandre (301) 427-1245 (JAlexand@ahrq.gov).