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December 13, 2001, Issue No. 39


AHRQ News and Numbers

In general, exclusive provider health insurance plans (such as HMOs) were most commonly offered in the Northeast and on the West Coast in 1998. Preferred provider plans (such as PPOs) were more frequently offered in the South and Midwest. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; 2001. MEPS Chartbook No. 7: State differences in job-related health insurance, 1998.]

Today's Headlines:

  1. JAMA article on potentially inappropriate medication use in the elderly
  2. New Put Prevention Into Practice Implementation Guide released
  3. Disparities and gender gaps in women's health, 1996
  4. Diabetes Research in Action synthesis available
  5. Journal of the American Medical Women's Association article on health disparities and older women
  6. MEPS data users' workshops
  7. Child Health Services Researchers meeting set for next June
  8. Developing innovative approaches to improving patient safety
  9. New AHRQ publications
  10. AHRQ in the professional literature

1.  JAMA Article on Potentially Inappropriate Medication Use in the Elderly

AHRQ announced an article appearing in JAMA that highlights the problem of inappropriate prescribing of medication in elderly patients in the United States. The study was covered by the New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Chicago Tribune, AP, Reuters, Scripps-Howard News Service, National Public Radio, and other media outlets. About one-fifth of the approximately 32 million elderly Americans not living in nursing homes in 1996 used at least one of 33 prescription medicines that a panel of geriatric medicine and pharmacy experts agreed should always be avoided in the elderly. The article, "Potentially Inappropriate Medication Use in the Community-Dwelling Elderly: Findings from the 1996 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey," is published in the December 12 issue of JAMA. The study was conducted by AHRQ researchers Chunliu Zhan, M.D., Ph.D.; Judith Sangl, Sc.D.; Arlene S. Bierman, M.D., M.Sc.; Marlene R. Miller, M.D., M.Sc.; Steve W. Wickizer, PharmD.; and Gregg S. Meyer, M.D., M.Sc.; as well as Bruce Friedman, Ph.D., of the University of Rochester. Select to access the press release.

2.  New Put Prevention Into Practice Implementation Guide Released

AHRQ released a new Put Prevention Into Practice (PPIP) product, A Step-by-Step Guide to Delivering Clinical Preventive Services: A Systems Approach. The guide will be used to launch a new campaign to promote the entire PPIP program, which is focused on increasing the appropriate use of clinical preventive services, such as screening tests, immunizations, and counseling. The guide is modeled after an implementation manual developed by the Texas Department of Health to implement the PPIP program in Texas. The new guide can be used by States and others interested in a step-by-step approach to implementing PPIP and increasing the delivery of appropriate clinical preventive services. The primary audiences for the guide are clinicians, health care systems, State and local health departments, health educators, and medical specialty societies. Select to access the press release. Print copies of the guide are available by sending an E-mail to AHRQPubs@ahrq.hhs.gov.

3.  Disparities and Gender Gaps in Women's Health, 1996

AHRQ announced the availability of a new chartbook, Disparities and Gender Gaps in Women's Health for 1996. The chartbook, from AHRQ's Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, provides estimates of health insurance, access to and use of care, and health status among women of different ages and racial/ethnic groups in America. Some of the key findings include: Hispanic women were more likely than women of other racial/ethnic groups to be uninsured; Medicaid enrollment for women increased from 1987 to 1996; black women were more likely than women from other racial/ethnic groups to have had a Pap smear or complete physical exam in the preceding 2 years; and women were more likely than men to have functional limitations. Select to access the chartbook.

4.  Diabetes Research in Action Synthesis Available

AHRQ released a report entitled Improving Care for Diabetes Patients Through Intensive Therapy and a Team Approach. This AHRQ research synthesis on diabetes management shows that providers can help patients achieve good glycemic control and postpone major complications of the disease through a combination of intensive drug therapy and a team approach to care. Select to access our press release and to see the synthesis.

5.  Journal of the American Medical Women's Association Article on Health Disparities and Older Women

A recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Women's Association is dedicated to papers on health disparities and older women. An article by AHRQ researchers Arlene S. Bierman, M.D., M.S., and Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D., "Health Disparities Among Older Women: Identifying Opportunities to Improve Quality of Care and Functional Health Outcomes," appears in the journal. Select to read the article.

6.  MEPS Data Users' Workshops

Mark your calendars for two workshops to facilitate the use of the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Household Component (MEPS-HC) by the health services research community. The workshops, designed for those with an interest in using national health surveys, will be held at the Sheraton Fisherman's Wharf Hotel, San Francisco, March 4, and March 6-7, 2002. At both workshops, participants will have the opportunity to bring up specific research and policy questions of interest to them.

7.  Child Health Services Researchers Meeting Set for Next June

Mark your calendars for the Fourth Annual Child Health Services Researchers meeting that will be held on June 22 in Washington. The meeting will spotlight plenary sessions and four "Cutting-Edge Tracks":

  1. Skill building.
  2. Cutting-edge research.
  3. Cutting-edge policies.
  4. Call for panels.

Online registration will open in February. The meeting is being held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Academy for Health Services Research and Health Policy. Select to access the preliminary program and the registration form.

8.  Developing Innovative Approaches to Improving Patient Safety

As part of the $50 million patient safety research initiative announced by HHS Secretary Thompson on October 11, AHRQ is sponsoring research at health care facilities and organizations in geographically diverse locations that will help to develop innovative approaches for improving patient safety. Several projects will study different aspects of how to improve the teamwork among health professionals to reduce harm to patients. For example, a $1.4 million project will create a Center of Excellence in Patient Safety Research at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston that will apply lessons from crew resource management in aviation to create stronger teamwork in health care. Another $168,000 project at the University of Chicago will examine how to improve communication and other aspects of teamwork.

9.  New AHRQ Publications

  1. Patient Safety Research Initiatives: Fiscal Year 2001.
  2. Children's Health Highlights Program Brief.
  3. Clinical Highlights: Vitamin D Supplementation To Prevent Rickets in Breast-Fed Babies.

A print copy of these publications is available by sending an E-mail to AHRQPubs@ahrq.hhs.gov.

10.  AHRQ in the Professional Literature

Ortiz E, Meyer G, Burstin H. The role of clinical informatics in the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's efforts to improve patient safety. J Am Med Inform Assoc 2001, Supp:508-12.

Weintraub JA, Stearns SC, Rozier G, et al. Treatment outcomes and costs of dental sealants among children enrolled in Medicaid. Am J Public Health 2001 Nov; 91(11):1877-81.

Sanders GD, Hlatky MA, Every NR, et al. Potential cost-effectiveness of prophylactic use of the implantable cardioverter defibrillator or amiodarone after myocardial infarction. Ann Intern Med 2001 Nov 20;135(10):870-83.

Lobach DF, Low R, Arbanas JA, et al. Defining and supporting the diverse information needs of community-based care using the Web and hand-held devices. J Am Med Inform Assoc 2001, Supp:398-402.

Contact Information

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Current as of December 2001

 

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