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Educating Patients Before They Leave the Hospital Reduces Readmissions, Emergency Department Visits and Saves Money

Electronic Newsletter, Issue 270

Treating a patient enrolled in the federal Medicare Advantage health insurance program costs hospitals an average of $10,800 compared with an average of $11,100 for patients enrolled in Medicare's traditional fee-for-service program. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), HCUP Statistical Brief #66.

Treating a patient enrolled in the federal Medicare Advantage health insurance program costs hospitals an average of $10,800 compared with an average of $11,100 for patients enrolled in Medicare's traditional fee-for-service program. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), HCUP Statistical Brief #66: Medicare Hospital Stays: Comparisons between the Fee-for-Service Plan and Alternative Plans, 2006.]

Today's Headlines

  1. Educating patients before they leave the hospital reduces readmissions, emergency department visits and saves money
  2. Call for papers for AHRQ's Symposium on Clinical and Comparative Effectiveness Research Methods
  3. AHRQ issues three updated career development Funding Opportunity Announcements
  4. AHRQ director helps consumers navigate the health care system in a Web advice column
  5. Health Policy Fellowship Announcement
  6. AHRQ releases new evidence report on back pain
  7. AHRQ's free notification service brings news and information to your E-mail inbox
  8. AHRQ in the professional literature

1. Educating Patients Before They Leave the Hospital Reduces Readmissions, Emergency Department Visits and Saves Money

Patients who have a clear understanding of their after-hospital care instructions, including how to take their medicines and when to make follow-up appointments, are 30 percent less likely to be readmitted or visit the emergency department than patients who lack this information. Fewer hospital readmissions and emergency department visits also translate to lower total costs. The AHRQ-funded study found that total costs (a combination of actual hospitalization costs and estimated outpatient costs) were an average of $412 lower for the patients who received complete information than for patients who did not. The study is published in the February 3 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine. Select to read our press release and select to access the abstract in PubMed®.

2. Call for Papers for AHRQ's Symposium on Clinical and Comparative Effectiveness Research Methods

AHRQ's Effective Health Care program invites abstract submissions for research papers on empirical studies and methodological advances for conducting comparative and clinical effectiveness research for its a second invitational symposium. Papers that are accepted through a peer review process will be presented by the primary author at the symposium in June and published as a journal supplement. The call for abstracts is available online. The deadline for submission is February 13.

3. AHRQ Issues Three Updated Career Development Funding Opportunity Announcements

On January 23, AHRQ issued three updated career development Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs). These FOAs announce AHRQ's intent to continue its career development programs. They also highlight the need for applications to focus on identified priority areas in one of the six AHRQ portfolios: value, prevention/care management, health information technology, comparative effectiveness, patient safety, and innovations and emerging issues. The deadline is March 9. The updated program announcements are:

If you have particular questions about these opportunities, please contact Kay Anderson by sending an E-mail to Kay.Anderson@ahrq.hhs.gov.

4. AHRQ Director Helps Consumers Navigate the Health Care System in a Web Advice Column

AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D., offers advice to consumers in new, brief, easy-to-understand columns. The biweekly columns will help consumers better navigate the health care system. Select to read Dr. Clancy's advice columns.

5. Health Policy Fellowship Announcement

The Society for Medical Decision Making (SMDM) and AHRQ are seeking applications for their 2009-2010 Health Policy Fellowship. The aim of the fellowship is to foster collaboration between SMDM members and AHRQ staff by fostering expertise and career development in clinical and comparative effectiveness research and translation. The fellowship will allow an SMDM member to conduct new and innovative analyses and to participate in developmental and health policy activities related to the design and content of future AHRQ research and offers access to the data and other resources provided by AHRQ. Deadline to submit an application is February 13.

6. AHRQ Releases New Evidence Report on Back Pain

AHRQ has released a new evidence report on which complementary and alternative medicine therapies are being used to treat back pain. Complementary and alternative medicine includes therapies such as acupuncture, massage, naturopathic medicine, chiropractic spinal manipulation, and patient self-treatment. The report's authors found only limited research to understand the patterns of complementary and alternative medicine use for back pain, although it does appear that chiropractic spinal manipulation, massage, and acupuncture may be the most commonly used therapies. The authors found that most studies provided minimal information on the severity and sources of back pain; few concurrently evaluated the use of multiple complementary and alternative medicine therapies; and few evaluated complementary and alternative medicine therapy use in regions of the back other than low back. Furthermore, most studies provided only minimal details about the specific subtypes or variations of complementary and alternative medicine therapies used and most did not state the type of provider who applied the therapy. The evidence synthesis, Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Back Pain Utilization, was conducted by AHRQ's McMaster University Evidence-based Practice Center and funded by the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Select to access the report.

7. AHRQ's Free Notification Service Brings News and Information to Your E-mail Inbox

AHRQ has a free user-friendly service on its Web site that allows you to receive automatic E-mail notices when there is new information available about the Agency, its publications, data, and research results. AHRQ's customizable service offers approximately 60 topic areas--from patient safety to prevention and from health IT to the comparative effectiveness of drugs and medical devices--so you will receive notices only on topics of interest. To find a link to the new service, look for the envelope icon under the home page banner and select "E-mail Updates." Subscribers only need to sign up for the service once; however, if your interests or E-mail addresses change, you will be able to access and update your account information at any time.

8. 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.

Fahrenkopf AM, Sectish TC, Barger LK. Rates of medication errors among depressed and burnt out residents: prospective cohort study. BMJ 2008 Mar 1; 336(7642):488-91. Select to access the abstract in PubMed®.

Drees M, Snydman DR, Schmid CH, et al. Prior environmental contamination increases the risk of acquisition of vancomycin-resistant enterococci. Clin Infect Dis 2008 Mar 1; 46(5):678-85. Select to access the abstract in PubMed®.

Howell EA, Hebert P, Chatterjee S, et al. Black/white differences in very low birth weight neonatal mortality rates among New York City hospitals. Pediatrics 2008 Mar; 121(3):e407-15. Select to access the abstract in PubMed®.

Goff SL, Mazor KM, Meterko V, et al. Patient's beliefs and preferences regarding doctors' medication recommendations. J Gen Intern Med 2008 Mar; 23(3):236-41. Select to access the abstract in PubMed®.

Landon BE, Normond SL, Meara E. The relationship between medical practice characteristics and quality of care for cardiovascular disease. Med Care Res Rev 2008 Mar; 65(2):167-87. Select to access the abstract in PubMed®.

Contact Information

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Current as of February 2009
Internet Citation: Educating Patients Before They Leave the Hospital Reduces Readmissions, Emergency Department Visits and Saves Money: Electronic Newsletter, Issue 270. February 2009. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://archive.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/e-newsletter/270.html

 

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