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Press Release Date: December 3, 1996
The Federal Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR)
announced several new studies on asthma and
diseases that affect millions of Americans and significantly
contribute to health care costs and lost productivity.
The first study is a 5-year, $6.08 million randomized
trial to improve asthma care for children and adolescents. The
prevalence of childhood asthma, a serious and costly health
has more than doubled since 1970. Asthma affects an estimated
million children under 18 years of age, and costs approximately
billion for treatment, according to the American Lung
The disease restricts breathing, can trigger other health
problems and sometimes kills affected individuals. Asthma can
cause emotional and growth problems in children, and is
for a significant number of lost school and work days.
AHCPR Administrator Clifton R. Gaus said, "The results of this
could lead to major improvements in the health and everyday
life for children affected by asthma. This should be welcome
parents, as well as for health care providers and insurers." Dr.
added that data are currently very limited on the effectiveness
Under the direction of the principal investigator, Kevin B.
Weiss, M.D., of Rush Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in
Chicago, the researchers will test the cost-effectiveness of
guidelines intended to reduce asthma morbidity among children.
The research team will determine the effectiveness of an
opinion-leader training program, using academic detailing
increase doctors' use of guideline recommendations on
anti-inflammatory medications for children on chronic
therapy. In addition, the researchers will test a new
approach that managed care providers could use to deliver
The study, to be conducted in three large health maintenance
organizations in Boston, Chicago and Seattle, is one of AHCPR's
large-scale projects that evaluate the effectiveness of different
diagnosing, treating, managing and, where applicable, preventing
widespread health problems. AHCPR is providing $1.28 million for
first year and has earmarked $4.80 million to complete the study.
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, which developed the
guideline to be used in the study (Grant No.: HSHL08368), is
AHCPR today also announced funding for:
- Outcomes of Lower Respiratory Illness in Nursing Home
Residents. (Grant No.: HS08551) Under a 3-year, $2.16 million AHCPR
David R. Mehr, M.D., of the University of Missouri-Columbia, will
lead the first outcomes research project to determine whether
residents of nursing homes who contract pneumonia can be treated
in the facility as safely and effectively as in a hospital, if
they are at low risk of dying from the disease. The researchers
will develop and test a method doctors could use to estimate
expected outcomes of nursing home residents who have pneumonia.
If proven effective, the formula could help physicians more
accurately identify low- and high-risk patients and reduce the
number of medically unnecessary hospital admissions.
- Dissemination of Guidelines for Pneumonia Length of
No.: HS08282) Michael J. Fine, M.D., University of
is the principal investigator of this study, which will evaluate
the impact of medical care guidelines on the length of stay of
persons hospitalized for treatment of community-acquired
pneumonia. AHCPR has committed $1.53 million to fund the 3-year
study; the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease
is providing $388,858.
- Developing and Testing Asthma Quality of Care
No.: HS09461) Under the direction of Yvonne C. Coyle, M.D.,
the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas,
researchers will develop and test technical measures of the
quality of adult asthma care. Overall AHCPR funding for the
3-year study totals $805,710.
The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, a part of the
U.S. Public Health Service, is the lead
agency charged with supporting research designed to improve the
quality of health care, reduce its cost
and enhance access to essential services. AHCPR's broad programs
of research and technology
assessment bring practical, science-based information to medical
practitioners, and to consumers and
other health care purchasers.
For additional information, contact AHCPR Public Affairs: Howard Holland, (301) 427-1857; Salina Prasad, (301) 427-1864.