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Chronic disease management quality improvement efforts yield better care delivery

A national series of interventions designed to improve the quality of care in health centers for three prevalent chronic conditions has improved processes of care for these conditions but did not improve intermediate clinical outcomes, according to results of a study collaboratively supported by the HHS Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and Health Resources and Services Administration and complemented by a grant from The Commonwealth Fund.

The study, published in the March 1 New England Journal of Medicine, focuses on the principle quality improvement efforts adopted by HRSA for 1,000 health centers nationally, the Health Disparities Collaboratives. The Health Center Program, administered by HRSA, supports high-quality, comprehensive and community-oriented primary care delivery systems serving low-income residents in inner cities and in rural and isolated areas. The collaborative improvement interventions focused on diabetes, asthma, and hypertension, which together affect more than 25 percent of the U.S. adult population. Health centers provide care for more than 14 million Americans, many of whom are uninsured or underinsured or are members of immigrant or minority groups.

This study indicates that focused quality improvement interventions can enhance how we deliver care and we need to do more to improve clinical outcomes, said Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D., AHRQ director. These findings will guide our quality improvement efforts in the overall health care system and at health centers, which are a critically important component of a national strategy to deliver quality care to the medically vulnerable.

The lessons learned from studies conducted at HRSAs Health Disparities Collaboratives have the potential to save lives and improve the health of thousands of Americans, said Elizabeth M. Duke, HRSA administrator. We know from experience at hundreds of health centers around the nation that the changes promoted by collaborat
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Contact: AHRQ Public Affairs
301-427-1855
Harvard Medical School
1-Mar-2007


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