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New AHRQ Software Made Available to Build Hospital Quality Website

Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, June 9, 2010

After more than two years of development, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has released its MONAHRQ (My Own Network powered by AHRQ) software that hospitals can use without charge to compile, analyze, and post data on the quality and cost of their healthcare.

The Windows-based software is designed to permit hospitals and other users to create customized Websites with data that can be used either for internal quality improvement or public reporting of quality information. Average approximate time to set up the software is about one to two days, according to Anne Elixhauser, Ph.D., a senior research scientist with AHRQ.

The use of the software is open to other entities as well such as state governments, health insurers, health information technology vendors, and other providers. The costs to organizations creating a Website with quality data from scratch—before the introduction of MONAHRQ—have run as high as $300,000 and could take a year to set up, based on the experiences of some users, according to Elixhauser.

Hospitals that download MONAHRQ can customize it by entering in hospital administrative data, including elements such as patient characteristics, diagnoses, procedures, health insurance type, and charges. MONAHRQ processes that information and then creates a Website that can be customized, Elixhauser says.

The initial version of the MONAHRQ Website is able to display four main paths at the current time, says Elixhauser. Two of the paths are at the hospital level:

  • AHRQ quality indicators subset. Currently, there are 57 measures that include hospital mortality, volume of procedures, and patient safety indicators that can be displayed.
  • Measures of utilization. This helps examine the numbers of discharges, costs, lengths of hospitalizations, and charges for various health conditions and procedures.

And, two of the paths are at the county level:

  • Potentially preventable hospitalizations. This will create maps of county by county rates for where hospitalizations can be avoided, plus provide a view of potential cost savings. This could include looking at uncontrolled chronic conditions such as diabetes or asthma.
  • Rates of health conditions and procedures. This includes a view of the prevalence of diseases or medical procedures—looking at discharge data within a specific geographic area.

"We are currently working on [MONARHQ] Version 2," Elixhauser says. "That will allow data organizations to download their hospital-level statistics" from data sources such as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Website, including data with Hospital Compare, she says. This version probably will be completed by next year.


Janice Simmons is a senior editor and Washington, DC, correspondent for HealthLeaders Media Online. She can be reached at jsimmons@healthleadersmedia.com.

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