The annual National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report shows that while there has been gradual improvement in health care quality, gaps in access to care and other health disparities remain.

The report is mandated by Congress and released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). It evaluates health care in the United States based on more than 250 measures in three categories: access to care; quality measures, as outlined by National Quality Strategy priorities; and disparities.

According to the report, nationwide:

  • 65 percent of health care accessrelated measures did not significantly improve from 2000 to 2014, even though uninsurance rates decreased from 2010 to 2016;
  • quality measures improved overall, with the greatest improvement in patient-centered care and patient safety;
  • health care disparities have improved slightly since 2000, but they persist for many racial and ethnic groups, as well as low-income households and uninsured patients.

AHRQ refers health care professionals to the agency’s resources on quality improvement and health care disparities for recommendations on how to reduce health care disparities and improve equitable access. A final version of the report will be released in September.

Contact Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.