News and Updates for Healthcare Professionals

2021 National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report

For the 19th year, AHRQ is reporting on healthcare quality and disparities. The annual National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report is mandated by Congress to provide a comprehensive overview of the quality of healthcare received by the general U.S. population and disparities in care experienced by different racial and socioeconomic groups. The report is produced with the help of an Interagency Work Group led by AHRQ.

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Three 2022 Priorities for Action Identified by NQF’s Leadership Consortium

SDOH Data Collection, Promoting Clinician and Care Team Well-Being, and Measurement of Person-Centered Care Top Priorities to Improve Care for Every Person

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Quality Forum’s (NQF) Leadership Consortium has released its 2022 Priorities for Action. These priorities – rooted in health equity, clinician experience, and patient and caregiver experience – present achievable opportunities for all stakeholders to improve the care experience and health outcomes for every person in America. The Leadership Consortium is a convening of NQF Members that are leaders in the field to connect, collaborate, and share insights on the nation’s most complex healthcare issues.

The Leadership Consortium’s priorities for action build upon NQF’s The Care We Need report and Strategic Plan, which emphasize the need for building a stronger, more focused, and cohesive healthcare quality ecosystem. “Healthcare continues to be presented with unique challenges and opportunities; this year was no different. Given the impact of the pandemic, the importance of setting aligned priorities across the healthcare ecosystem was an imperative. It was a great experience to lead and collaborate with this year’s NQF Leadership Consortium to identify and inform priorities for action that will drive a better healthcare experience for all,” said 2021 Leadership Consortium Chair Dr. Amy Nguyen Howell, Senior National Medical Director, Chief of the Office for Provider Advancement at Optum. The body hosted a webinar for NQF Members earlier this week to share their findings and ideas for the future of healthcare.

Priority One: Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) Data Collection

Health systems recognize the importance of capturing information about the economic and social conditions that influence health. However, studies show a low uptake of coding for these Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) in electronic health records and claims data. There is a need for guidance and standards on the collection of SDOH data elements like food insecurity, housing instability, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender identity which all impact a person’s ability to successfully navigate the healthcare system. The Leadership Consortium recommends NQF convene multistakeholder experts in a learning collaborative or Action Team to advance the collection and use of SDOH data through the dissemination of emerging and best practices. Healthcare organizations can utilize advancements in SDOH data collection to identify vulnerable patients, assess disparities in care, deliver targeted services, and monitor success in advancing health equity.

Priority Two: Promoting Clinician and Care Team Well-Being

While many healthcare organizations have existing efforts to promote well-being and prevent burnout, few of them know how to best measure clinician wellness. Burnout among clinicians and care teams can have a significant impact on their well-being, morale, and the quality of care being delivered. The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the physical and mental impacts of providing patient care, and nearly half of healthcare workers have reported burnout amid the pandemic. The Leadership Consortium recommends NQF convene a strategy session with a multistakeholder expert panel to identify measure concepts for the evaluation and improvement of clinician and care team well-being. By measuring and assessing clinician and care team well-being, healthcare stakeholders will be better equipped to identify opportunities to implement viable interventions, measure meaningful change, and improve their well-being and retention.

Priority Three: Measurement of Person-Centered Care

While systems for measuring patient experiences such as AHRQ's Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) program exist in a variety of care settings, there is widespread consensus that challenges remain in assessing whether care is person-centered. Recent shifts toward care that is person-centered and focused on outcomes have highlighted the importance of measuring the success of high quality care from the perspective of the patient with the goal of improving outcomes, experience of care, and population health. The Leadership Consortium recommends NQF convene multistakeholder experts to identify actionable strategies to address these challenges and better evaluate the delivery of person-centered care. As strategies to implement person-centered care continue to evolve, healthcare leaders should identify measures and measure concepts that incorporate communication, coordination, and shared decision making, and their impact on patient outcomes, as key facets to measuring the success of person-centered care.

NQF convenes the Leadership Consortium annually to identify national health and healthcare priorities for collaboration and coordination. The role of the Leadership Consortium is vital to elevating NQF Member perspectives and the success of NQF’s mission as the trusted voice driving measurable health improvements. NQF encourages all members to sign-up to receive alerts about the Leadership Consortium’s nomination period in early 2022.

Can Shared Decision-Making Improve Access to Preventive Care?

The shared decision-making tool could be helpful after the pandemic squashed access to preventive care and opened up deep care gaps.

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AHRQ Promotes National Health Literacy Objectives

AHRQ observes Health Literacy Month with a new blog that encourages healthcare organizations to adopt health literacy strategies that can advance Healthy People 2030’s health literacy objectives. Find out about AHRQ’s resources to improve communication and increase shared decision making, including the newly launched Question Builder App in Spanish.

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Videos Tell the Story of EvidenceNOW: Advancing Heart Health

These four videos tell the story of how seven regional Cooperatives worked with more than 5,000 clinicians at over 1,500 small- and medium-sized primary care practices to improve the delivery of heart health services to about 8 million patients.

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News Alert: Aspirin not recommended to prevent first heart attack or stroke, USPSTF says

Starting a daily aspirin regimen in people age 60 or older can cause potentially serious harm including internal bleeding, the USPSTF warned Tuesday.

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AHRQ Initiatives Support Better Heart Health for All Americans

September 29 is World Heart Day — an observance that aims to improve how we understand, prevent, and manage heart disease. This annual event brings together health organizations across all sectors to turn the spotlight on a condition that each year kills more than 17 million people worldwide.

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Disparities in opioid overdose deaths continue to worsen for Black people, study suggests

NIH-supported study underscores the need for racially inclusive approach to address the opioid crisis in hard-hit areas.

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Interventional Treatments for Acute and Chronic Pain: Systematic Review

Vertebroplasty is probably more effective than sham or usual care for vertebral compression fractures for reducing pain and improving function in older (Medicare-eligible) populations, but benefits are small. Benefits are smaller in sham compared with usual care controlled trials and larger in trials of patients with more acute symptoms.

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NIH HEAL Initiative: Research Meets the Moment to Address the Opioid Public Health Crisis

NIH leadership highlight the results and progress of number strategies to find scientific solutions to address the nation’s opioid crisis.

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