Healthcare quality improves, disparities persist, study finds

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While the overall quality of healthcare provided in the country is improving, issues with preventive care and racial disparities still exist, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Vaccinations for elderly people, children, and adolescents improved almost 6%, according to two reports released by AHRQ, an agency of federal Health and Human Services. The two annual reports provide updated, congressionally mandated snapshots of the U.S. healthcare system, AHRQ said in a release about the reports.

But preventive treatments and screenings for colorectal cancer, obesity, asthma and diabetes lagged far behind the gains achieved in other areas of preventive medicine, the agency said. Also, racial and socioeconomic disparities are still a concern. For example, African Americans received poorer quality care than whites for 73% of the core measures included in the disparities report.

The two reports are available at and .