U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 27, 2006
Contact: AHRQ Public Affairs
June 27, 2006
NEW AHRQ ASTHMA CARE RESOURCE GUIDE OFFERS HELP TO STATES
HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), in partnership with The Council of State Governments, today released Asthma Care Quality Improvement: A Resource Guide for State Action and its companion Workbook, both of which are designed to help State leaders identify measures of asthma care quality, assemble data on asthma care, assess areas of care most in need of improvement, learn what other States have done to improve asthma care, and develop a plan for improving the quality of care for their States. This new Resource Guide uses data from AHRQ's National Healthcare Quality Report and National Healthcare Disparities Report and Web-based State Snapshots to help inform the Nation and States, respectively, about the quality of asthma care.
"AHRQ is arming health care professionals, policymakers, and local leaders with evidence-based information designed to facilitate improvements in asthma care," said AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D. "Improving the quality of asthma care will help to improve the quality of life for millions of people, reduce disparities, prevent avoidable hospitalization and emergency care, and cut costs."
Asthma is a chronic lung condition that impairs normal breathing. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that in 2003, nearly 30 million people had been diagnosed with asthma at some point in their lives and nearly 20 million people report they currently had asthma. AHRQ's National Healthcare Quality Report reports that the total cost for asthma care, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in 2004, was $27.6 million.
The Workbook is designed for state policymakers, including officials in State health departments, asthma prevention and control programs, and Medicaid offices. It includes five modules, some of which are targeted for senior leaders responsible for making the case for asthma care quality improvement and taking action, while other modules provide the information necessary for program staff to develop and implement a quality improvement strategy. The goal is that all groups involved in asthma care work together as a team to improve the quality of asthma care.
"State leaders often say they need two things to make sound decisions: good data and information about best practices. This new resource from AHRQ provides just that," said Daniel M. Sprague, Executive Director of the Council of State Governments. "It contains a wealth of data on asthma care quality as well as information on promising practices that states have implemented to improve asthma care."
Asthma Care Quality Improvement: A Resource Guide for State Action and its companion Workbook can be found online at http://www.ahrq.gov/qual/asthmaqual.htm. Printed copies are available by calling the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse at 1-800-358-9295 or by sending an E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.