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December 30, 2005, Issue No. 187


AHRQ News and Numbers

Nearly 21 percent of Hispanics under age 65—roughly 7.8 million individuals—reported being continuously uninsured for at least 2 years when surveyed in 2002 and 2003. By comparison, 10 percent of blacks and 7.2 percent of non-Hispanic whites and Asian-Pacific Islanders reported being continuously uninsured during the same period. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, MEPS Statistical Brief No. 104: The Long-term Uninsured in America, 2002 to 2003: Estimates for the U.S. Population under Age 65. (PDF File, 100 KB; PDF Help).]

Today's Headlines:

  1. AHRQ to release the 2005 National Healthcare Quality Report and National Healthcare Disparities Report at National Leadership Summit on January 9
  2. AHRQ announces new brochure to help people make decisions about surgery
  3. HHS to host listening session on research priorities for the Effective Health Care Program on January 11
  4. Special emphasis notice on research priorities for AHRQ
  5. CERTs Annual Report Year Five available
  6. New AHRQ CERTs program brief on NSAIDs available
  7. New data available on children's hospital stays
  8. AHRQ calls for nominations for topics for new ACTION program
  9. Highlights of our most recent monthly newsletter
  10. AHRQ in the professional literature

1.  AHRQ to Release the 2005 National Healthcare Quality Report and National Healthcare Disparities Report at National Leadership Summit on January 9

On January 9, AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D., will announce the findings of the third annual reports on the quality of and disparities in health care in America during a speech at the National Leadership Summit on Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health sponsored by HHS' Office of Minority Health. The 2005 National Healthcare Quality Report and the 2005 National Healthcare Disparities Report measure and track trends in quality and disparities in four key areas of health care: effectiveness, patient safety, timeliness, and patient centeredness. Select to find out more information about about the Leadership Summit. Starting January 9, the reports will be available on the AHRQ Web site.

2.  AHRQ Announces New Brochure to Help People Make Decisions about Surgery

AHRQ released Having Surgery? What You Need to Know, to help patients make informed decisions when planning for surgery. The brochure suggests questions to help patients obtain needed information, including how and where their operation will be performed, what kind of anesthesia will be used, whether non-surgical medical treatment and watchful waiting are options, possible risks of not having the surgery, potential risks and expected benefits if they have the surgery, and how long recovery is expected to take. The publication is part of a series of health care resources from AHRQ to help people be more active in making informed decisions that can help them obtain high-quality health care. Select to read our press release. The brochure and the Spanish-language version, Va a tener una cirugia? Lo que usted necesita saber, are available online. A print copy of the brochure is available by sending an E-mail to AHRQPubs@ahrq.hhs.gov.

3.  HHS to Host Listening Session on Research Priorities for the Effective Health Care Program on January 11

HHS will host a listening session on January 11 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the National Press Club, 529 14th Street NW, Washington, DC, to solicit input on research priorities for the Effective Health Care Program. Initial work in the program originates from Medicare reform legislation signed by President Bush in December 2003. Section 1013 of the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 authorizes research, demonstrations, and evaluations to improve the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of the federally administered Medicare program and two programs for which funding and administration is shared with the States: Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program. HHS Deputy Secretary Alex Azar, AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D., and CMS Administrator Mark McClellan, M.D., Ph.D., are scheduled to participate. Participants in the listening session are asked to focus their comments on suggested topics for study under the Effective Health Care Program; structure of the priority lists (e.g., disease/condition, type of intervention, effected population, etc.); and methods to answer questions of safety and effectiveness as quickly and efficiently as possible. If you are planning to attend, please RSVP with your name, organization, address, and telephone number. A call-in line has been established for anyone not able to attend the meeting in person; call-in information will be provided when you RSVP. Participants may provide oral or written comments. Oral comments are limited to 3 minutes and may be given in person or via telephone. All comments will be posted for public review in an online reading room on the AHRQ Web site.

4.  Special Emphasis Notice on Research Priorities for AHRQ

AHRQ issued a research priorities notice alerting researchers to the opportunity to submit applications focused on systems strategies (broadly defined) for addressing the needs of patients with multiple chronic illnesses/comorbidities. Applications for large grants (up to $300,000 total costs per year), small research grants and K awards are explicitly encouraged. Select to read the notice.

5.  CERTs Annual Report Year Five Available

The latest Centers for Education & Research on Therapeutics (CERTs) annual report provides valuable information for clinicians, policymakers, and members of the medical products industry to help them translate research into everyday medical practice and policymaking. The report highlights tools and resources developed by the CERTs, such as a virtual medicine cabinet, a Web-based tool designed to help consumers avoid adverse drug interactions among prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and other supplements. Select to read the full report (PDF file, 3.8 MB; PDF Help). A print copy of the full report is available by sending an E-mail to AHRQPubs@ahrq.hhs.gov.

6.  New AHRQ CERTs Program Brief on NSAIDs Available

AHRQ released a new program brief on nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug (NSAID) studies conducted by its Centers for Education & Research on Therapeutics (CERTs) to help physicians, patients, and policymakers make informed decisions about treatment options. NSAIDs are one of the most commonly used drug classes in the United States. The program brief summarizes studies on NSAIDs and COX-2 inhibitors, high frequency of NSAID use, NSAIDs and the risk of serious coronary heart disease, and gastroprotective measures for chronic NSAID users. Also, information on the importance of physician-patient communication about over-the-counter medications like NSAIDs and the risk of drug interactions—and interventions to promote safe prescribing and use of NSAIDs—are provided. A print copy is available by sending an E-mail to AHRQPubs@ahrq.hhs.gov.

7.  New Data Available on Children's Hospital Stays

AHRQ released the Healthcare Cost & Utilization Project Kids' Inpatient Database (KID) for 2003. The KID is produced every 3 years and is a unique and powerful nationwide database of hospital stays for children. It is a sample of pediatric discharges (age 20 or younger at admission) from community, non-rehabilitation hospitals from States participating in HCUP. The KID is the only dataset on hospital use, outcomes, and charges designed to study children's use of hospital services in the United States. Select AHRQ's HCUP Web site for more information.

8.  AHRQ Calls for Nominations for Topics for New ACTION Program

AHRQ is calling for nominations for topics for a soon-to-be announced program called "Accelerating Change and Transformation in Organizations and Networks," or ACTION. This new program will promote innovation in health care delivery by accelerating the development, implementation, dissemination and uptake of demand-driven, evidence-based products, tools, strategies and findings. Interested parties can nominate concepts for projects by sending a 1- to 2-page concept paper—including a brief rationale, suggested methods, a description of how findings may improve health care delivery or outcomes, duration (18 months maximum), and an estimated budget—to AHRQ Project Officer Cynthia Palmer. In addition, organizations may sponsor projects or suggest potential cosponsors for projects. Several HHS agencies and others funded task orders under AHRQ's Integrated Delivery System Research Network, the precursor to the ACTION program. Please contact Ms. Palmer at the E-mail address above for more information or to nominate topics or sponsors.

9.  Highlights of Our Most Recent Monthly Newsletter

Among the key articles in the online issue of Research Activities:

Black and Hispanic patients are more likely to be readmitted to hospitals for complications associated with diabetes—Black and Hispanic patients with diabetes are more likely than white patients to be readmitted to the hospital within 6 months after their initial hospitalization for complications associated with diabetes. These complications are preventable with effective post-discharge care. Study findings suggest that disparities in diabetes-related outcomes are more likely due to differences in outpatient management of the disease than to the quality of inpatient care.

Other articles include:

  • Some State-level policies are associated with women's mortality rates for certain diseases.
  • Hypothermia increases the chances of dying among people admitted to the hospital with major trauma.
  • Studies detail the impact of costs on drug and health care use.

Select to read these articles and more.

10.  AHRQ in the Professional Literature

We are providing the following hyperlinks to journal abstracts through PubMed® for your convenience. Unfortunately, some of you may not be able to access the abstracts because of firewalls or specific settings on your individual computer systems. If you are having problems, you should ask your technical support staff for possible remedies.

Brown JF. Emergency department psychiatric consultation arrangements. Health Care Manage Rev 2005 Jul-Sep;30(3):251-61. Select to access the abstract in PubMed®.

Egede LE, Dagogo-Jack S. Epidemiology of type 2 diabetes: focus on ethnic minorities. Med Clin N. Am 2005 Sep;89(5):949-95. Select to access the abstract in PubMed®.

Sawalha AH, Saint S, Ike RW, et al. Clinical problem solving. Still consider the source. N Engl J Med 2005 Oct 6;353(14)1503-7. Select to access the abstract in PubMed®.

Edwards JC, Stapley J, Akins R, et al. Lessons learned from a regional strategy for resource allocation. Biosecur Bioterror 2005;3(2):113-8. Select to access the abstract in PubMed®.

Clarke P, Evans SH, Shook D, et al. Information seeking and compliance in planning for critical care: community-based health outreach to seniors about advance directives. Health Commun 2005;18(1):1-22. Select to access the abstract in PubMed®.

Contact Information

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Current as of December 2005

 

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