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September 15, 2000, Issue No. 14


AHRQ News and Numbers

Today's Headlines:

  1. Video of medical errors summit
  2. Most cost-effective tests for colon cancer screening are sigmoidoscopy and stool blood test
  3. Child and adolescent health scholar and new applicants sought
  4. Evidence report on anesthesia management during cataract surgery
  5. Most expensive conditions treated in hospitals: new chart
  6. Article on quality of care in teaching hospitals
  7. New CERTs
  8. AHRQ co-sponsors methods seminar
  9. Working conditions and patient safety conference
  10. AHRQ in the News
  11. New publications
  12. Factoid

1.  Video of Medical Errors Summit

On Monday, September 11, AHRQ, through the Quality Interagency Coordination Task Force (QuIC), hosted the first National Summit on Medical Errors and Patient Safety Research. The goal of the Summit was to review the information needs of individuals involved in the process of reducing medical errors and improving patient safety. In addition, during the lunch break there was a press event to allow reporters a chance to ask questions of some of the people providing testimony that day.

2.  Most Cost-effective Tests for Colon Cancer Screening are Sigmoidoscopy and Stool Blood Test

Flexible sigmoidoscopy performed every 5 years and the annual stool blood test are the two most cost-effective strategies for screening colon cancer in asymptomatic adults aged 50-85 years, according to a new AHRQ-funded study. Rezaul K. Khandker, Ph.D., and colleagues compared the cost-effectiveness of eight screening strategies based on guidelines published in 1997 by the American Gastroenterological Association. The cost-effectiveness analysis measured the costs arising from screening against the gains that it yielded compared with no screening. The study A Decision Model and Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Colorectal Cancer Screening and Surveillance Guidelines for Average-Risk Adults is published in the Summer 2000 issue of the quarterly International Journal of Technology Assessment in Heath Care.

3.  Child and Adolescent Health Scholar and New Applicants Sought

Dr. Howard Bauchner has been selected as AHRQ's second Child and Adolescent Health Scholar-in-Residence. The appointment began on September 1 and expires on June 30, 2001. Dr. Bauchner will work with the Center for Primary Care Research and conduct research on issues related to primary care for children, health disparities, and physician-patient communication and decisionmaking. In addition, AHRQ is seeking new applicants for the next round to be a child and adolescent health scholar-in-residence. Applications are due by February 1, 2001.

4.  Evidence Report on Anesthesia Management During Cataract Surgery

AHRQ announced the availability of a summary of an evidence report by the Johns Hopkins Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC) on September 14. The EPC found that a variety of strategies for anesthesia management of cataract surgery patients are safe and effective and that no particular strategy is sufficiently superior to others to warrant changing current practice or producing a rigid guideline for anesthesia care during cataract surgery. Among the topics covered in the report's summary are control of ocular movement; administration of pain blocks; pain control during cataract surgery; and sedation strategies. Select to access the summary. Print copies of the summary are available from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse, 1-800-358-9295. Copies of the full report will be available later this year.

5.  Most Expensive Conditions Treated in Hospitals: New Chart

AHRQ has released a new chart showing the 7 most expensive conditions treated in hospitals and their corresponding mean lengths of stay. The chart, "Conditions with the Highest Mean Charges" is from AHRQ's Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP), Hospitalizations in the United States, 1997.

6.  Article on Quality of Care in Teaching Hospitals

Teaching hospitals, as a whole, provide better quality of care to elderly Medicare heart attack patients than nonteaching hospitals, and their patients have a lower death rate. The AHRQ-funded study by Jeroan J. Allison, M.D., Catarina Kiefe, Ph.D., M.D., and others, "Teaching Versus Non-teaching Hospitals: Mortality and Quality of Care for Medicare Patients with Acute Myocardial Infarction," was published in the September 13 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Select to access the abstract. Exit Disclaimer

7.  New CERTs

AHRQ has awarded approximately $4 million to support new Centers for Education and Research on Therapeutics (CERTs) over the next 3 years at:

The CERTs program is a national initiative to increase awareness of the benefits and risks of new, existing, or combined uses of therapeutics through education and research.

8.  AHRQ Co-sponsors Methods Seminar

A 3-day methods seminar on "Using Federal and State Databases" will be held October 30-November 1, in Washington DC. The first day of the seminar will include an overview of selected federal and state databases, lessons learned from the field, and information on federal and state efforts to protect patient privacy. In the following 2 days, participants can choose two of six day-long tracks on specific federal and state databases. The seminar is being presented by the Academy for Health Services Research and Health Policy with four federal cosponsors:

  1. Department of Veterans Affairs.
  2. Health Care Financing Administration.
  3. National Center for Health Statistics.
  4. AHRQ.

Two AHRQ databases will be covered during the seminar:

  1. The ">Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (a survey of health care use, expenditures, and insurance coverage).
  2. The Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (a family of state and national administrative health care databases).

9.  Working Conditions and Patient Safety Conference

AHRQ, together with the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, the Veterans' Health Administration, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the National Center for Infectious Diseases, will sponsor a conference October 17-18, in Pittsburgh titled, "Enhancing Working Conditions and Patient Safety: Best Practices." The conference will focus on discussing practical approaches to both improving the quality of patient care and working conditions for health care workers. Conference participants will share best practices in these areas, describing both the difficulties encountered and practical examples of success that can be replicated by others. The conference fee is $100 per person and space is limited to approximately 300 participants. Select for more information and registration materials from the Federal Quality Interagency Coordination (QuIC) Task Force. The QuIC Task Force, charged by the President with addressing quality-of-care issues, including medical errors and patient safety, is a group made up of all Federal agencies with responsibility for studying, providing, regulating, and/or purchasing health care services.

10.  AHRQ in the News

Chernew ME, Encinosa WE, Hirth RA. Optimal health insurance: the case of observable, severe illness. J Health Econ 2000 September; 19(5):585-609.

Dwight-Johnson M, Sherbourne CD, Liao D, et al. Treatment preferences among depressed primary care patients. J Gen Intern Med 2000 August; 15(8):527-534.

Eisenberg JM, Meyer G, Foster N. Medical errors and patient safety: a growing research priority. Health Serv Res 2000 August; 35(3):xi-xv.

Mitchell JM, Hadley J, Sulmasy DP, et al. Measuring the effects of managed care on physicians' perceptions of their personal financial incentives. Inquiry 2000 Summer; 37(2):134-145.

Whooley MA, Grady D, Cauley JA. Postmenopausal estrogen therapy and depressive symptoms in older women. J Gen Intern Med 2000 August; 15(8):535-541.

Wu AW. Quality-of-life assessment in clinical research: application in diverse populations. Med Care 2000 September; 38(9Supp II):130-135.

11.  New Publications

Put Prevention Into Practice: Child Health Guide [no longer available.]

12.  Factoid

For total hospitalizations in 1996, Medicaid paid for about 40 percent of children's stays but only about 17 percent of adult stays [McCormick MC, et al. Annual Report on Access to and Utilization of Health Care for Children and Youth in the United States-1999. Pediatrics 2000;105(1, pt. 3):219-30].

Contact Information

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Current as of September 2000

 

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