AHRQ releases state snapshots of healthcare data, with insurance data
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's (AHRQ) annual release of state-by-state health quality data has been expanded to include new data on health insurance. The additional data are intended to provide information on healthcare quality categorized by source of payment, including private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid and those without insurance.

The 2009 State Snapshots, released last week, provide state-specific healthcare quality information, including strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for improvement. Based on data collected for the 2009 National Healthcare Quality Report, states overall get mixed reviews for the quality of care they provide. As in previous years, the report showed that no state does well or poorly on all quality measures.

The new health insurance section allows users to compare payor-specific quality rates as well as differences among payors, according to AHRQ. For example, a state can compare the quality of care received by Medicaid or uninsured patients with that received by these same patients nationally and additionally assess whether its insurance-related disparities are larger or smaller compared with the nation as a whole.

The report summarized healthcare quality in three dimensions: types of care (preventive, acute and chronic care), settings of care (hospitals, ambulatory settings, nursing homes and home health care) and clinical conditions (cancer, diabetes, heart disease, maternal and child health and respiratory disease).

Maine, Maryland, Wyoming, South Carolina and Washington, D.C., showed the greatest improvement from the previous year, the report found. The five states with the smallest amount of improvement were North Dakota, Texas, West Virginia, Nebraska and Washington.

According to AHRQ, additional features in the report provide more ways to analyze the quality of healthcare for each state compared with all states, as well as with states in the same region. New and enhanced features include enhanced sections on asthma care, diabetes care and healthcare disparities

The 2009 State Snapshots released by AHRQ are available here.