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Electronic Newsletter

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March 29, 2002, Issue No. 50


AHRQ News and Numbers

New survey data in 2000 from AHRQ's Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) found that 72.3 percent of the United States population aged 18 and older had visited a doctor or medical clinic in the 12 months prior to the survey. Of that total, 82.6 percent reported no problems receiving the care they or their doctor believed was necessary; 89.8 percent said their health care providers always or usually listened carefully to them; and 84 percent said their health providers always or usually spent enough time with them. [Source: Agency for the Healthcare Research and Quality, MEPS, 2000.]

Today's Headlines:
  1. HHS Secretary Thompson names Carolyn Clancy, M.D., as Acting Director of AHRQ
  2. Expanded Web site will help primary care physicians diagnose smallpox, anthrax, and other bioterrorism-related infections
  3. New national survey details Americans' experiences with health care services
  4. Use of drugs to treat ADHD and depression in youth steadily increased from 1995 to 1999
  5. Do you know how AHRQ's research is being used?
  6. New AHRQ publications
  7. AHRQ in the professional literature

1.  HHS Secretary Thompson names Carolyn Clancy, M.D., as Acting Director of AHRQ

On March 22, HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson appointed Carolyn Clancy, M.D., as Acting Director of AHRQ, succeeding John M. Eisenberg, M.D., who passed away March 10. Dr. Clancy is an internist who has directed AHRQ's Center for Outcomes and Effectiveness Research since 1997 and previously served as director of AHRQ's Center for Primary Care Research. Select to access the AHRQ press release.

2.  Expanded Web Site Will Help Primary Care Physicians Diagnose Smallpox, Anthrax, and Other Bioterrorism-Related Infections

An AHRQ-sponsored Web site is being expanded to help 265,000 primary care physicians across the country learn how to diagnose and treat rare infections and exposures to bioterrorism agents such as smallpox and anthrax. When it was launched by AHRQ in January, the Web site was the first of its kind to offer free continuing education credits in bioterrorism preparedness to 50,000 hospital-based clinicians. An additional $400,000 in funding is being made available to expand the Web site's educational modules and make them accessible to an additional 265,000 office-based internists, family physicians, pediatricians, and dermatologists, bringing to 315,000 the total number of clinicians who can use the site. "Expanding the Web site to allow more doctors to access this critical information is an essential part of the nation's bioterrorism preparedness activities," said HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson. Designed by researchers in the Center for Disaster Preparedness at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) under a contract from AHRQ, the site currently offers five online courses for hospital emergency department physicians, nurses, radiologists, pathologists, and infection control practitioners. Courses cover identification of potential bioterrorism agents, including smallpox and anthrax, and commonly associated syndromes. Select to access the UAB Bioterrorism Web site.

3.  New National Survey Details Americans' Experiences With Health Care Services

New data from AHRQ indicate that slightly more than half of Americans age 18 and older (53.8 percent) who do not live in institutions or serve in the military received urgent medical care as soon as they wanted it in calendar year 2000. While there was very little difference between blacks and whites aged 18 to 64 in their reports of timeliness of receiving urgent care, only 41.2 percent of Hispanics reported always receiving urgent care when they wanted it. The data are taken from a new questionnaire incorporated into AHRQ's Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS). Select to access the AHRQ press release and more information about the quality-of-care data (PDF File, 592 KB; PDF Help).

4.  Use of Drugs to Treat ADHD and Depression in Youth Steadily Increased from 1995 to 1999

A new AHRQ-funded study shows that the use of stimulants and antidepressant medications to treat ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) and depression in children and adolescents increased steadily from 1995 to 1999. Researchers at the Center for Health Care Policy and Evaluation, UnitedHealth Group, with support from AHRQ's Center for Education and Research on Therapeutics at the University of North Carolina, studied how four therapeutic drug classes used to treat ADHD and depression in youth—central nervous system stimulants (CNSSs), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), and other antidepressants—vary in use over time by age, sex, geographic region, and prescribing physician. Select to access the AHRQ press release.

5.  Do You Know How AHRQ's Research Is Being Used?

We are always looking for ways in which AHRQ-funded research, products, and tools have changed peoples' lives, influenced clinical practice, improved policies, and affected patient outcomes. Impact case studies describe AHRQ research findings in action. These case studies have been used in testimony, budget documents, and speeches. We would like to know if you are aware of any impact your research has had on health care policy, clinical practice, or patient outcomes. Contact AHRQ's Impact Case Studies Program at (301) 427-1243 with your impact stories.

6.  New AHRQ Publications

What's New: Screening for Breast Cancer.

Print copies of the Recommendations and Rationale, Fact Sheet (i.e., What's New from the USPSTF), and Consumer Fact Sheet (What You Need To Know About Mammograms and Breast Cancer) are available free by sending an E-mail to AHRQPubs@ahrq.hhs.gov.

7.  AHRQ in the Professional Literature

Shah ND, Vermeulen LC, Santell JP, et al. Projecting future drug expenditures—2002. Am J Health Syst Pharm 2002 Jan 15;59(2):131-42. (Select to access the abstract on PubMed.)

Kahn DJ, Richardson DK, Billett HH. Association of thrombocytopenia and delivery method with intraventricular hemorrhage among very-low-birth-weight infants. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2002 Jan;186(1):109-16. (Select to access the abstract on PubMed.)

Schneider EC, Zaslavsky AM, Epstein AM. Racial disparities in the quality of care for enrollees in Medicare managed care. JAMA 2002 Mar 13;287(10):1288-94.

Kritz-Silverstein D, Barrett-Connor E. Hysterectomy, oophorectomy, and cognitive function in older women. J Am Geriatr Soc 2002 Jan;50(1):55-61. (Select to access the abstract on PubMed.)

Mukamel DB, Dick A, Spector WD. Specification issues in measurement of quality of medical care using risk adjusted outcomes. J Econ Social Meas 2000 Dec;27(3):267-81.

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 2002

 

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