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March 8, 2000, Issue No. 3


AHRQ News and Numbers

Today's Headlines:

  1. Improved Version of HCUPnet
  2. Cost Not Primary Factor Driving Managed Care Organizations' Decisions to Cover New Drugs
  3. Update on National Guideline Clearinghouse™ (NGC)
  4. Measuring Asthma Symptoms in Latino Children
  5. Racial and Ethnic Differences in Patient Ratings of Primary Care Physicians
  6. Do You Listen to Audiotapes?
  7. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Meets in Dallas
  8. AHRQ National Advisory Committee to Meet
  9. Time Running Out to Submit Medical Errors Grant Application
  10. New Grant Opportunities in Health Services Research Education
  11. Do You Know the Top Five Reasons for Hospital Admissions?
  12. Publications Catalog

1.  Improved Version of HCUPnet

AHRQ has launched an updated version of HCUPnet, an interactive online query system based on the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP). HCUPnet provides almost instant responses to questions about diagnoses, procedures, lengths of stay, charges and other information found in the Agency's HCUP Web-mounted data for 1997. The new version uses more recent national estimates for 1997 and for the first time can be used to access selected State data. For more information, select to access HCUPnet at http://hcupnet.ahrq.gov/.

2.  Cost Not Primary Factor Driving Managed Care Organizations' Decisions to Cover New Drugs

Safety and medical effectiveness are the most significant factors influencing managed care organizations' decisions to cover four common drugs, according to a new study conducted by researchers in the Clinical Bioethics Department at the National Institutes of Health's Clinical Center and AHRQ. For more information, read the March 7 issue of Health Affairs for the study.

3.  Update on National Guideline Clearinghouse™ (NGC)

The National Guideline Clearinghouse™ (NGC) has more than tripled in size since its launch just over one year ago. NGC offers instant access to almost 700 evidence-based clinical practice guidelines, related summaries, and other materials submitted by 125 health care organizations, associations, medical societies and Federal agencies. With over 1 million visitor sessions and 17 million hits to date, the NGC has proven to be a valuable resource for physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals. For more information, access the NGC.

4.  Measuring Asthma Symptoms in Latino Children

A new reliable Spanish-English scale has been developed for measuring asthma symptoms in Latino children. The scale was tested by interviewing parents of 234 inner-city children treated for asthma in an emergency department at the time of their initial visit and then one month latter. Over half the interviews of parents about their children's symptoms were conducted in Spanish; the rest were conducted in English. For more information, read the March issue of Medical Care.

5.  Racial and Ethnic Differences in Patient Ratings of Primary Care Physicians

Asian patients rate the performance of their doctors significantly less favorably than white patients, according to a new study that evaluated attitudes toward primary care physicians among patients of various ethnic and racial backgrounds. For more information, read the March issue of Medical Care for the full study.

6.  Do You Listen to Audiotapes?

AHRQ's User Liaison Program which conducts workshops for State and local health policy officials has audiotapes of its 2-3-day workshops. Topics include Prescription Drug Coverage, Designing Health Care Systems for People with Chronic Illnesses and Disabilities, and the Health Care Workforce and the States. Call the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse, 1-800-358-9295; or E-mail them at AHRQPubs@ahrq.hhs.gov.

7.  The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Meets in Dallas

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recently held its fifth meeting. The 14-person task force reviewed evidence on the first set of new topics and high priority updates. The first of the task force recommendations on these new topics are due later this year.

Topics include:

  1. Screening for Bacterial Vaginosis in Pregnancy.
  2. Screening for Skin Cancer.
  3. Screening for Chlamydial Infection.
  4. Screening for Lipid Abnormalities.

Each topic will be released as the Task Force finishes its work. Select for background information about the task force.

8.  AHRQ National Advisory Committee to Meet

The Committee, chaired by Donald M. Berwick, M.D., will meet on March 17.

9.  Time Running Out to Submit Medical Errors Grant Application

The Medical Errors Request for Applications (RFA) was issued on December 17, 1999. Letters of Intent are due by March 10, and applications are due April 27. Select to access the RFA.

10.  New Grant Opportunities in Health Services Research Education

In order to expand AHRQ's commitment to nurture the next generation of health services researchers, AHRQ announces its support for the following new career development awards:

  1. Mentored Clinical Scientist Development Awards (K08) are intended to foster the career development of promising new investigators in the field. Individual awards will support the development of outstanding clinician research scientists with a clinical doctoral degree, who have identified a mentor and will spend a minimum of 75% full time effort developing their research careers. Receipt dates for applications submitted in response to the K08 Program Announcement are February 1, June 1, and October 1 annually. Select to access the RFA.
  2. Independent Scientist Awards (K02) are also intended to foster the career development of new investigators in the field. Individual awards will support newly independent scientists with either a clinical or a research doctoral degree, who can demonstrate the need for a period of intensive research focus. Receipt dates for applications submitted in response to the K02 Program Announcement are February 1, June 1, and October 1 annually. Select to access the RFA.
  3. Pre-Doctoral Fellowship Awards for Minority Students are designed to enhance racial and ethnic diversity in the health services research sciences. On February 29, AHRQ announced that it is co-sponsoring a grant program with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to award pre-doctoral fellowships (F31) for minority students. The two application deadlines are: May 1 and November 15, 2000. For more information, access the RFA.

Select for more information on Research Training.

11.  Do You Know the Top Five Reasons for Hospital Admissions?

Last year, AHRQ issued a chart listing the top five reasons for hospital admissions based on HCUP Data. The report shows that 1.4 million hospital admissions in 1996 were for treating coronary atherosclerosis—narrowing of the arteries and impaired blood flow because of plaque formation. Atherosclerosis was second only to childbirth as the reason most Americans were hospitalized that year. Two other cardiac-related conditions—congestive heart failure and heart attack—were the fourth and fifth leading reasons for hospital admission. Pneumonia was the third most common reason. Select to access the chart.

12.  Publications Catalog

If you are interested in receiving a free copy of AHRQ's Publications Catalog, call AHRQ's Publications Clearinghouse at 1-800-358-9295.

Contact Information

Please address comments and questions regarding the AHRQ Electronic Newsletter to Nancy Comfort at Nancy.Comfort@ahrq.hhs.gov or (301) 427-1866.

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Current as of March 2000

 

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