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Electronic Newsletter

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January 10, 2003, Issue No. 83


AHRQ News and Numbers

For two cardiac conditions—heart attack and hardening of the arteries—men are more likely than women to receive cardiac catheterization, percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty, and coronary artery bypass graft. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, HCUP Fact Book #3, 2002.]

Today's Headlines:

  1. AHRQ/AAP announce partnership on 20 Tips To Help Prevent Medical Errors in Children
  2. Study on licensed nurses and adverse events
  3. USPSTF recommends dietary counseling for adults with high cholesterol and other risk factors for chronic disease
  4. New AHRQ data indicate that people with chronic conditions continue to smoke
  5. AHRQ launch of online patient safety journal coming soon
  6. AHRQ workshops on HIPAA privacy rule
  7. Building Bridges conference
  8. Calling all AHRQ researchers! "Help Us to Help You"
  9. Highlights from the most recent edition of our monthly newsletter
  10. New AHRQ publications
  11. AHRQ in the professional literature

1.  AHRQ/AAP Announce Partnership on 20 Tips To Help Prevent Medical Errors in Children

AHRQ and the American Academy of Pediatrics announced a partnership to help put valuable information about preventing medical errors into the hands of pediatricians and parents across the country by promoting a new fact sheet called 20 Tips to Help Prevent Medical Errors in Children. The fact sheet offers evidence-based, practical tips on avoiding medical errors related to prescription medicines, hospital stays, and surgery. The fact sheet already has been featured on the Today Show and in the Philadelphia Inquirer, and AHRQ and AAP have distributed copies to AAP's 57,000 member pediatricians, as well as to groups representing children and parents. Send an E-mail to AHRQPubs@ahrq.hhs.gov, or call 1-800-358-9295 for copies of the fact sheet.

2.  Study on Licensed Nurses and Adverse Events

A new AHRQ-funded study shows that the number of licensed nurses in hospitals is a stronger predictor of adverse events than the proportion of licensed nurses to total nursing staff, suggesting that if the level of licensed nurses is sufficient for high-quality patient care, a high skill mix is not crucial. The study, "Licensed Nurse Staffing and Adverse Events in Hospitals," supported by the AHRQ and the National Science Foundation, is published in the January issue of Medical Care. Specifically, the study found that hospitals with more licensed nurses (with a constant number of patients) had significantly lower incidences of collapsed lungs, bed sores, falls, and urinary tract infections, but significantly higher rates of pneumonia. Hospitals with a greater proportion of licensed nurses to total nursing staff had significantly lower rates of bedsores and pneumonia.

3.  USPSTF Recommends Dietary Counseling for Adults With High Cholesterol and Other Risk Factors for Chronic Disease

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended that primary care clinicians provide dietary counseling for adult patients with high cholesterol and other known risk factors for diet-related chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and obesity. These recommendations appear in the January 2003 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. The Task Force found that effective counseling for promoting healthy diets among patients at known risk for cardiovascular disease generally requires multi-session group or individual behavioral counseling provided by specially trained physicians and nurse practitioners, or by primary care dietitians, nutritionists or health educators. Effective counseling combines education about healthy diet with specific behavioral counseling that increases patients' motivation, skills and social support for healthier eating patterns. Select to access the AHRQ press release and to read the recommendation.

4.  New AHRQ Data Indicate That People With Chronic Conditions Continue To Smoke

New data from a self-administered questionnaire added to AHRQ's Medical Expenditure Panel Survey in late 2000/early 2001 show a substantial number of smokers who report having a diagnosed chronic condition continue to smoke despite their health problems. Specifically, in 2000, 37.9 percent of people with emphysema, 24.8 percent of people with asthma, 20 percent of people with hypertension or cardiovascular problems, and 18.5 percent of people with diabetes reported that they currently smoked. Select to access the AHRQ press release and the data (PDF File, 355 KB; PDF Help).

5.  AHRQ Launch of Online Patient Safety Journal Coming Soon

The official launch of AHRQ WebM&M, AHRQ's peer-reviewed, Web-based medical journal that will showcase patient safety lessons drawn from actual cases of medical errors, is scheduled for next month. Edited by a team at the University of California, San Francisco, the Web-based journal is designed to educate health care providers about medical errors in an engaging and blame-free environment. Authors of cases chosen for posting will receive an honorarium while retaining their anonymity. Every month, five interesting cases of medical errors and patient safety problems across a broad array of medical specialties will be posted along with commentaries from distinguished experts and a forum for readers' comments. Select to access the site and learn how to submit cases anonymously. By registering through the site (as more than 1,200 have done already), you can also choose to receive monthly notices of topics and commentaries starting in mid-February.

6.  AHRQ Workshops on HIPAA Privacy Rule

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy rule will go into effect on April 14, and two workshops are being offered by AcademyHealth and AHRQ on the topic. The workshops, called "Playing by New Rules: Privacy and Health Services Research," are intended to educate the health services research community about responsibilities and obligations under the HIPAA privacy rule. Participants will learn practical approaches to implementing the privacy rule, such as effectively working with institutional review boards and privacy boards. The workshop will address critical questions that health services research will face related to data privacy, including:

  • What data meet the legal requirements for personally identifiable health information?
  • What entities are covered by the regulation, and how are their identifiable data acquired?
  • What are the consequences for failing to protect this information?
  • How can researchers use data while protecting its confidentiality?
  • What advantages does the limited data set (LDS) offer researchers?

The 1-day workshops will be held in two locations: March 19 in San Francisco and April 29 in Washington, DC.

7.  Building Bridges Conference

AHRQ is co-sponsoring the annual Building Bridges conference, a collaborative effort with the American Association of Health Plans, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Blue Cross Blue/Shield Association. The primary purpose of the meeting is to bring together managed care researchers both outside and inside managed care organizations to examine critical issues related to quality, access, and costs. About 250 participants are expected to attend this year's conference, called "Using Research to Build an Accountable Health Care System," to be held April 30-May 2 in Atlanta. 

8.  Calling All AHRQ Researchers! "Help Us to Help You"

We would like to do a better job of promoting and marketing your research. Over the past several years, AHRQ has succeeded in improving communications with grantees and contractors. However, at the present time we only have advance notification of an estimated 37 percent of journal articles stemming from AHRQ-funded research. Obviously, there is much more that can be done. We are asking for your help to improve this effort by notifying us once your article has been accepted for publication. When you are notified by a journal that your article will be published, please send a copy of the manuscript, along with the journal name, anticipated publication date, and contact information, to your AHRQ project officer or send an E-mail to journalpublishing@ahrq.gov. Your manuscript will be reviewed for potential AHRQ marketing efforts. Please be assured that AHRQ always honors the journal embargo, and we do not release any details about your publication outside of the agency prior to publication.

9.  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. Over two-thirds of survivors of early-stage cancer are still working 5 to 7 years later.
  2. Doctors need to be attentive to the weight concerns of disabled adults, who are twice as likely as other adults to be obese.
  3. Practice sites and medical groups may be more meaningful sources for measuring health care quality than health plans.

Select for these articles and others.

10.  New AHRQ Publications

  1. Integrated Delivery System Research Network (IDSRN) fact sheet.
  2. Impact of Working Conditions on Patient Safety fact sheet.

Print copies are available by sending an E-mail to AHRQPubs@ahrq.hhs.gov.

11.  AHRQ in the Professional Literature

We are providing the following hyperlinks to journal abstracts through PubMed® for your convenience. Unfortunately, some of you may not be able to access the abstracts because of firewalls or specific settings on your individual computer systems. If you are having problems, you should ask your technical support staff for possible remedies.

Smalley W, Stein CM, Arbogast PG, et al. Underutilization of gastroprotective measures in patients receiving nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Arthritis Rheum 2002 Sep; 110(3):471-80. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Hill SC, Thornton C, Trenholm C, et al. Risk selection among SSI enrollees in TennCare. Inquiry 2002 Summer; 39(2):152-67. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Schneeweiss S, Maclure M, Soumerai SB, et al. Quasi-experimental longitudinal designs to evaluate drug benefit policy changes with low policy compliance. J Clin Epidemiol 2002 Aug; 55(8):833-41. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Flores G, Rabke-Verani J, Pine W, et al. The importance of cultural and linguistic issues in the emergency care of children. Pediatr Emerg Care 2002 Aug; 18(4):271-84. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Riddle DL, Freburger JK, et al. Evaluation of the presence of sacroiliac joint region dysfunction using a combination of tests: a multicenter intertester reliability study. Phys Ther 2002 Aug; 82(8):772-81. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Contact Information

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Current as of January 2003

 

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