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May 3, 2001, Issue No. 27


AHRQ News and Numbers

Today's Headlines:

  1. 1. AHRQ's report on recent activities and future directions
  2. 2. Article in JAMA on medication errors among hospitalized children
  3. 3. Article in Archives of Internal Medicine on comparing acupuncture, massage, and self-care for low back pain
  4. 4. Webcast of National Summit on Patient Safety Data Collection and Use
  5. 5. Patient Safety Research Dissemination and Education RFA
  6. 6. Chart on health care use for children 17 and under—dental visits
  7. 7. MEPSnet/IC
  8. 8. MEPS workshop
  9. 9. AHRQ-funded study on reducing use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) among nursing home residents
  10. 10. Centers for Education and Research on Therapeutics (CERTs) annual report
  11. 11. AHRQ seminar on the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and Women's Health
  12. 12. Research synthesis on adverse drug events in hospitals
  13. 13. Transcript of web chat with researchers
  14. 14. Evidence report on dental patients with HIV
  15. 15. Evidence report on the use of epoetin in oncology
  16. 16. Highlights from the most recent edition of our monthly newsletter
  17. 17. New AHRQ Publications
  18. 18. Factoid

1.  AHRQ's Report on Recent Activities and Future Directions

AHRQ released on May 2 an update of the Agency's programs and activities for fiscal years 1999-2000, specifically highlighting AHRQ's initiatives to support health outcomes, strengthen quality measurement, and reduce unnecessary health care expenditures. Also included are details of AHRQ's increased focus on quality and patient safety and information on current and future directions for research. Print copies are available from the AHRQ Clearinghouse, 1-800-358-9295.

2.  Article in JAMA on Medication Errors Among Hospitalized Children

An AHRQ-funded study indicates that medication errors for hospitalized children appear to be relatively common and that most potential adverse drug events are preventable. Rainu Kaushal, M.D., M.P.H., of Children's Hospital, Boston, co-authored the study that found errors with potential for harm occurred most often in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). Computerized physician order entry would likely reduce the rates of potential and preventable adverse drug events. The article was published in the April 25 issue (2001;285[16]:2114-20) of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Select for more information about AHRQ's patient safety activities.

3.  Article in Archives of Internal Medicine on Comparing Acupuncture, Massage, and Self-Care for Low Back Pain

An AHRQ-funded study concluded that therapeutic massage was effective for persistent low back pain, apparently providing long-term benefits, while Traditional Chinese Medical acupuncture was relatively ineffective. The article, "Randomized Trial Comparing Traditional Chinese Medical (TCM) Acupuncture, Therapeutic Massage, and Self-Care Education for Chronic Low Back Pain" by Daniel C. Cherkin, Ph.D., was published in the May issue of Archives of Internal Medicine (2001;161[8]:1081-88).

4.  Webcast of National Summit on Patient Safety Data Collection and Use

Kaisernetwork.org, a free Web-based news service sponsored by the Kaiser Family Foundation, covered the opening session of the April 23/24 National Summit on Patient Safety Data Collection and Use. The data summit was held by the new HHS Patient Safety Task Force. Select to access information about the new HHS Patient Safety Task Force.

5.  Patient Safety Research Dissemination and Education RFA

AHRQ issued a press release on April 25 to announce a new RFA for research grants to study patient safety research dissemination and education. AHRQ expects to award up to $1.5 million for these grants. Select to access the AHRQ Press Release and the RFA. The deadline for applications is May 24.

6.  Chart on Health Care Use for Children 17 and Under—Dental Visits

AHRQ issued on May 2 the third and last in a series of charts on children's health created with MEPS data. The charts are derived from tables taken from an article published in Ambulatory Pediatrics entitled "Annual Report on Access to and Utilization of Health Care for Children and Youth in the United States—2000." This third chart, which shows the rates of dental care among children 17 and under, highlights that less than half of all children and less than one-third of black and Hispanic children had a dental visit during the year. AHRQ's Deputy Director, Dr. Lisa Simpson, is among the co-authors of the article. Select to access the AHRQ Press Release and the chart.

7.  MEPSnet/IC

AHRQ today issued a press release to announce the launch of MEPSnet/IC—a new, interactive tool on the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Web site that provides quick and easy access to employer-based health insurance data. MEPSnet/IC users can access national and state level statistics and trends about health insurance offered by private establishments and state and local governments, including cost of coverage. Data currently are available from the 1996, 1997, and 1998 MEPS-IC surveys; additional years will be added as they become available. In the future, data from other MEPS components will be added to allow better analysis of MEPS data. Select to access the AHRQ Press Release and MEPSnet/IC.

8.  MEPS Workshop

AHRQ is sponsoring a 2-day MEPS Workshop, May 21-22, at the AHRQ Conference Center in Rockville, MD. The purpose is to facilitate use of the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Household Component (MEPS-HC) public use data files by the health services research community. The first half-day will provide practical information about the household component survey design, file content, and the construction of analytic files. During the next day and a half, personal computers will be available for hands-on exercises and construction of MEPS data files. Select to access more information and registration materials.

9.  AHRQ-Funded Study on Reducing Use of Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) Among Nursing Home Residents

AHRQ issued on April 26 a press release on the findings of an experimental educational program to reduce the use of potentially dangerous non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) among nursing home residents. The program, conducted for AHRQ and the FDA by the Vanderbilt University Center for Education and Research on Therapeutics (CERTs), taught physicians and nursing staff to substitute equally effective acetaminophen, and use topical agents, or non-drug methods to treat pain from osteoarthritis. This resulted in a 70 percent decrease in the use of NSAIDs. The article, "An Educational Program for Nursing Home Patients and Staff to Reduce Use of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs Among Nursing Home Residents: A Randomized Controlled Trial," by Wayne Ray, Ph.D., is published in the May issue of Medical Care. Select to access the AHRQ Press Release.

10.  Centers for Education and Research on Therapeutics (CERTs) Annual Report

AHRQ released its first CERTs annual report. The annual report both introduces the CERTs program and reviews accomplishments to date.

11.  AHRQ Seminar on the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and Women's Health

AHRQ is co-sponsoring a seminar on May 15 from 12:00-1:30 p.m. to celebrate Women's Health Week in the Great Hall, Hubert H. Humphrey Building. The seminar, "U.S. Preventive Services Task Force: Recommendations for Women," will be presented by David Atkins, M.D., M.P.H., from AHRQ's Center for Practice and Technology Assessment. Select to access information about HHS women's health activities.

12.  Research Synthesis on Adverse Drug Events in Hospitals

The synthesis "Reducing and Preventing Adverse Drug Events Decrease Hospital Costs" has received a lot of press attention, including coverage by Time Magazine, the AP News, Washington Post, and Healthbiznews.com. The first synthesis in AHRQ's Research in Action series focuses on the costs of adverse drug events and systems changes that hospitals can make to reduce errors and improve quality of care. Select to access the AHRQ Press Release and the publication. Print copies are available from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse, 1-800-358-9295.

13.  Transcript of Web Chat with Researchers

On April 11, AHRQ hosted a live, moderated chat on its Web site with health services researchers and Gregg Meyer, M.D., Director of AHRQ's Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety. Dr. Meyer answered questions about the Agency's budget, research priorities, and future funding opportunities. Select to access the transcript.

14.  Evidence Report on Dental Patients with HIV

AHRQ issued a press release on April 24 announcing the availability of a summary of a new evidence report, Management of Dental Patients Who Are HIV Positive. The questions addressed include whether:

  1. Invasive dental procedures present an added risk of complications for patients with HIV/AIDS.
  2. Selected oral conditions are useful as markers of recent change in condition.
  3. Immune suppression and antifungal drugs can prevent or effectively treat oral candidiasis in these patients.

The report was prepared by the Research Triangle Institute Evidence-based Practice Center in Durham, NC. Select to access the AHRQ Press Release and the summary. Print copies are available from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse, 1-800-358-9295.

15.  Evidence Report on the Use of Epoetin in Oncology

AHRQ issued a press release on May 1 announcing the availability of a summary of a new evidence report, The Use of Epoetin for Anemia in Oncology. The report examines the literature on the use of erythropoietin in oncology to reduce the need for transfusion in cancer patients with chemotherapy-induced anemia. Epoetin is a synthetic hormone developed to replace the natural hormone erythropoietin. The study suggests that although only one in five patients will benefit from this treatment, those who do have a reduced reliance on transfusions. The report was developed on behalf of AHRQ by the Evidence-based Practice Center at the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Association Technology Evaluation Center in Chicago. Select to access the AHRQ Press Release and the summary. Print copies are available from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse, 1-800-358-9295.

16.  Highlights From the Most Recent Edition of Our Monthly Newsletter

The new issue of Research Activities is in the mail. The key articles are:

  1. New HIV therapies have led to a decline in hospital costs for most patients.
  2. Community-based programs offer a way to reach disadvantaged women and encourage them to have mammograms.
  3. Programs that successfully reduce or prevent smoking and alter sedentary lifestyles can reduce hospital admissions.
  4. Maryland's EMS system has effectively managed mass casualty incidents involving 10 to 40 people.

Select for these articles and others.

17.  New AHRQ Publications

  1. Child Health Toolbox brochure.
  2. Translating Research Into Practice (TRIP)-II Fact Sheet.
  3. Women and Heart Disease (updated).

18.  Factoid

People who are members of racial or ethnic minority groups are more afraid of medical errors than whites: 71% of blacks and 45% of Hispanics say they are "very concerned" about medical mistakes happening to them, while just 43% of whites express the same fear. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality/Kaiser Family Foundation National Survey on Americans as Health Care Consumers: An Update on the Role of Quality Information, December 2000.]

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Current as of May 2001

 

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