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Study: QIOs Improve Health Care

Published: Monday, January 16, 2006 - 22:00

The 2005 National Health Quality Report suggests that a push for health care quality improvement by U.S. quality improvement organizations (QIO) has been successful. The report found significant improvements in the delivery of diabetes, heart disease, respiratory, maternal and child health and nursing home health care. All but one of these areas were the targets of intensive efforts by the nation’s network of QIOs, which work under a contract with Medicare. QIOs are independent health care consultants, consultant organizations and hospitals that specialize in health care quality improvement.

The National Health Quality Report was compiled by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which releases it annually. The report found “modest” improvements in the overall delivery of health care, but notes much more rapid improvements in the areas that have been the focus of QIO work.

“In many areas, we know the specific treatment steps and procedures that are needed to improve quality,” says Carolyn Clancy, AHRQ director. “These reports indicate that when we focus on those best practices, we can make rapid improvement, especially when the results are publicly reported.”

The report looked at 44 key measures of effectiveness and found that the delivery of heart disease and pneumonia treatments to Medicare patients showed a 9.2-percent improvement—four times the combined rate for all other measures.

“This report presents clear evidence of the value of Medicare’s investment in the QIO program,” says David Schulke, AHQA executive vice president. “It makes the case for even greater targeted assistance for implementing best practices.”

For more information, visit www.ahqa.org.


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For 40 years Quality Digest has been the go-to source for all things quality. Our newsletter, Quality Digest, shares expert commentary and relevant industry resources to assist our readers in their quest for continuous improvement. Our website includes every column and article from the newsletter since May 2009 as well as back issues of Quality Digest magazine to August 1995. We are committed to promoting a view wherein quality is not a niche, but an integral part of every phase of manufacturing and services.