This information is for reference purposes only. It was current when produced and may now be outdated. Archive material is no longer maintained, and some links may not work. Persons with disabilities having difficulty accessing this information should contact us at: https://info.ahrq.gov. Let us know the nature of the problem, the Web address of what you want, and your contact information.
Please go to www.ahrq.gov for current information.
Key Themes and Highlights From the National Healthcare Quality Report
This is the second annual National Healthcare Quality Report (NHQR). This second report extends the baseline established in the 2003 report for a set of health care quality measures across four dimensions of quality—effectiveness, safety, timeliness, and patient centeredness—and, within the effectiveness component, nine clinical condition areas or care settings—cancer, diabetes, end stage renal disease, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, mental health, respiratory diseases, and nursing home and home health care.
The 2004 NHQR is based on detailed analyses of 179 measures. The purpose of the report is to track the state of health care quality for the Nation on an annual basis. It is, in terms of the number of measures and number of dimensions of quality, the most extensive ongoing examination of quality of care ever undertaken in the United States or any major industrialized country worldwide.
The first report found that high quality health care is not yet a universal reality and that opportunities for preventive care are often missed, particularly opportunities in the management of chronic diseases in America. The second report finds evidence both that health care quality is improving and that major improvements can be made in specific areas as well.
As a result of the analysis of the 2004 NHQR data, three key themes emerge. These themes are relevant to policymakers, clinicians, health system administrators, community leaders, and all who seek to use the information in the report to improve health care services for all Americans:
- Quality is improving in many areas, but change takes time.
- The gap between the best possible care and actual care remains large.
- Further improvement in health care is possible.