AHRQ Focus on Research: Health Care for Women

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AHRQ Focus on Research: Health Care for Women
In 1900, the leading causes of death among U.S. women included infectious diseases and complications of pregnancy and childbirth. Today, other health problems and chronic conditions face women. Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States. Approximately 185,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed among U.S. women each year, and nearly 45,000 women die from the disease. Each year, about 600,000 women have a hysterectomy. By age 60, more than one-third of U. S. women have had a hysterectomy. Costs associated with hysterectomy are estimated at $5 billion per year. An estimated 4 million women a year are victims of domestic violence. Finally, by age 65, half of all women have two or more chronic diseases. These illnesses occur most often in minority and low-income women. AHRQ Research

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) supports research on all aspects of women's health care, including quality, access, cost, and outcomes. A priority is given to identify and reduce disparities in the health care of minority women, address the health needs of women living in rural areas, and care for women with chronic illness and disabilities. This important information is brought to the attention of policymakers, health care providers, and consumers who can make a difference in the quality of health care women receive. This agency serves as a catalyst for change by promoting the results of research findings and incorporating those findings into improvements in the delivery and financing of health care. Impact

AHRQ funded the development of two software tools, now standard features on hospital electrocardiograph machines, that have improved diagnostic accuracy and dramatically increased the timely use of "clot-busting" medications in women having heart attack. Women treated in emergency rooms (ERs) are less likely to receive life-saving medication for heart attack. Older black women are...
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