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August 1, 2001, Issue No. 31


AHRQ News and Numbers

In early 2000, 16.1 percent of the U.S. civilian noninstitutionalized population (44 million people) had no health insurance coverage. [Source: AHRQ's 2000 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey.]

Today's Headlines:

  1. Press briefing on patient safety practices (See video clip of Dr. Eisenberg)
  2. Register for VA/QuIC summit on patient safety practices
  3. Medicare fee-for-service and HMO patients: No differences in heart attack followup care
  4. Physician satisfaction in different delivery system settings
  5. Hospital mergers and savings for consumers
  6. KID database
  7. Research Priorities: Patient-centered Care and the Impact of Payment and Organization on Care
  8. Research agenda on aging
  9. New director of CPTA
  10. Evidence report on treatment of pulmonary disease following cervical spinal cord injury
  11. Evidence report on treatment of coexisting cataract and glaucoma
  12. Evidence report on diabetes mellitus

1.  Press Briefing on Patient Safety Practices (See Video Clip of Dr. Eisenberg)

AHRQ held a press briefing on July 17 to release a new evidence report, Making Health Care Safer: A Critical Analysis of Patient Safety Practices, developed by the University of California San Francisco/Stanford Evidence-based Practice Center. The report examines the current medical literature on 79 patient safety practices and rates those practices that have been shown to be most effective. Select to access the AHRQ Press Release.

2.  Register for VA/QuIC Summit on Patient Safety Practices

The VA/QuIC Summit on Effective Practices to Improve Patient Safety will be held September 5-7 in Washington, D.C. There will be presentations on over 20 topics ranging from safe medication practices to strategies for managing fatigue in health care settings to techniques for root cause analysis developed at the VA's National Center for Patient Safety.

3.  Medicare Fee-for-Service and HMO Patients: No Differences in Heart Attack Followup Care

We announced the results of an AHRQ-funded study indicating that patients in Medicare's traditional fee-for-service program were approximately just as likely as those in Medicare HMOs to be prescribed three drugs proven effective for improving the survival of older patients who have had heart attacks. The three drugs are: beta blockers, which slow the heart rate and prevent abnormal heart rhythms; ACE inhibitors, which improve heart function; and cholesterol-lowering drugs, which reduce atherosclerosis. For more details, select to access the AHRQ Press Release.

4.  Physician Satisfaction in Different Delivery System Settings

We announced publication of an AHRQ-funded study that concluded that Massachusetts physicians in 1997 were less satisfied overall in every aspect of their professional life than physicians in 1986. In 1997, physicians from open-model practice settings (in which they accept patients from multiple plans and insurers) were less satisfied than those from closed models (in which they have an exclusive relationship with a single health plan) in terms of total earnings, leisure time, and incentives for high-quality care. For details of the article, select to access the AHRQ Press Release.

5.  Hospital Mergers and Savings for Consumers

We announced the results of an AHRQ-funded study that analyzed the changes in hospital costs and prices between 1989 and 1997 for 1,767 hospitals. The study found that the hospitals which merged had lower growth in costs and prices compared with hospitals that did not merge. The researchers concluded, however, that the cost and price savings resulting from hospital mergers might be smaller than previously estimated. For more information, select to access the AHRQ Press Release.

6.  KID Database

Dr. Eisenberg announced the nation's first database on the hospital care of America's children. The Kids' Inpatient Database (KID) was developed by AHRQ to make national and regional estimates of children's treatment, including surgery and other procedures, and for estimating treatment outcomes and hospital charges. Select to access the AHRQ Press Release or to visit the database.

7.  Research Priorities: Patient-centered Care and the Impact of Payment and Organization on Care

AHRQ published new research priorities in two Program Announcements. One, titled "Impact of Payment and Organization on Quality, Cost, and Equity," seeks broad, system-level analysis that integrates the issues of cost, financing, quality improvement and outcomes. The other, titled "Patient-centered Care: Customizing Care to Meet Patients' Needs," will support redesign and evaluation of new care processes that lead to greater patient empowerment, improved patient-provider interaction, easier navigation through healthcare systems, and improved access, quality, and outcomes. Select to access the AHRQ Press Release.

8.  Research Agenda on Aging

AHRQ just released a report from its Task Force on Aging that details a proposed agenda for health services research on aging Americans. Print copies of the report are available by sending an E-mail to AHRQPubs@ahrq.hhs.gov.

9.  New Director of CPTA

AHRQ announced that family physician Robert Graham, M.D., has been chosen as the new director of the agency's Center for Practice and Technology Assessment. This center is responsible for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, technology assessments, AHRQ's Evidence-based Practice Centers, and the National Guideline Clearinghouse™ (NGC). Select to access the AHRQ Press Release.

10.  Evidence Report on Treatment of Pulmonary Disease Following Cervical Spinal Cord Injury

AHRQ released the summary of a new evidence report produced by the Duke Evidence-based Practice Center, Treatment of Pulmonary Disease Following Cervical Spinal Cord Injury (SCI). The report presents the EPC's assessment of the evidence currently available on the prevention and treatment of pulmonary disease following traumatic cervical SCI. Select to access the Summary. Print copies of the summary are available by sending an E-mail to AHRQPubs@ahrq.hhs.gov.

11.  Evidence Report on Treatment of Coexisting Cataract and Glaucoma

AHRQ published the summary of an evidence report by the Johns Hopkins University Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC), Treatment of Coexisting Cataract and Glaucoma. The report identifies the most important questions pertinent to surgical treatment of coexisting cataract and glaucoma, assesses the quality and content of the evidence on surgical treatment of coexistent cataract and glaucoma, and identifies areas in which further research is needed. Select to access the Summary. Print copies of the summary are available by sending an E-mail to AHRQPubs@ahrq.hhs.gov.

12.  Evidence Report on Diabetes Mellitus

AHRQ released the summary of a new evidence report by the Evidence-based Practice Center at RAND in Southern California, Ayurvedic Interventions for Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review. The report found that few studies of Ayurvedic medicine have been pursued and that clinical trials using Ayurvedic medicine should be conducted to see if the therapies have any effect. Select to access the Summary. Print copies of the summary are available by sending an E-mail to AHRQPubs@ahrq.hhs.gov.

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 August 2001

 

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