2014 National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Reports are annual reports to Congress mandated in the Healthcare Research and Quality Act of 1999 (P.L. 106-129). These reports provide a comprehensive overview of the quality of health care received by the general U.S. population and disparities in care experienced by different racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. The purpose of the reports is to assess the performance of our health system and to identify areas of strengths and weaknesses in the health care system along three main axes: access to health care, quality of health care, and priorities of the National Quality Strategy (NQS).

The reports are based on more than 250 measures of quality and disparities covering a broad array of health care services and settings. Data are generally available through 2012, although rates of uninsurance have been tracked through the first half of 2014. The reports are produced with the help of an Interagency Work Group led by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and submitted on behalf of the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Beginning with this 2014 report, findings on health care quality and health care disparities are integrated into a single document. This new National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report (QDR) highlights the importance of examining quality and disparities together to gain a complete picture of health care. This document is also shorter and focuses on summarizing information over the many measures that are tracked; information on individual measures will still be available through chartbooks posted on the Web (www.ahrq.gov/research/findings/nhqrdr/2014chartbooks/).

The new QDR and supporting chartbooks are further integrated with the NQS. The NQS has three overarching aims that build on the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Triple Aim® and that support HHS’s delivery system reform initiatives to achieve better care, smarter spending, and healthier people through incentives, information, and the way care is delivered. These aims are used to guide and assess local, state, and national efforts to improve health and the quality of health care. To advance these aims, the NQS focuses on six priorities that address the most common health concerns that Americans face. Quality measures tracked in the QDR have been reorganized around these priorities and a chartbook will be released marking progress for each NQS priority.

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