Raising Women’s Voices

Government Reports on US Health System

Posted in Reports and Studies by raisingwomensvoices on May 7, 2009

Two government reports on healthcare were released on Wednesday, finding that the efforts to improve the quality of healthcare and narrow ethnic disparities are moving painfully slowly and that patient safety may be declining.

The report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found measurable improvement in less than half of the 38 patient safety measures that were examined. It concluded that, despite a push for preventative care, the US Health System works best when providing diagnostic, therapeutic, or rehabilitative care in response to an actual, acute medical problem.

min_affairs1A separate report noted the wide ethnic disparity in healthcare-highlighting that black Americans are 10 times more likely than whites to contract AIDS and twice as likely to have a leg amputated due to diabetes complications.

Like prior research, the study found great variation in patient care between states. For example, the study found that 66% of adult diabetics received a flu vaccine in one state, compared with 24% in another state.

While progress was found across 45 core measurements, the reports found a median annual improvement of only 1.8% and improvement in treatment for heart attacks was twice that for preventative care, such as cancer screenings.

An average decline of almost 1% was found in patient safety during each of the past six years, due in part to accidental punctures and lacerations as well as infections from the placement of central venous catheters.

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