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Research Activities

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December 2004, No. 292


About Research Activities

Feature Story

Results of a consumer survey on patient safety present both an opportunity and a challenge to make health care safer

Patient Safety/Quality

Anonymity, feedback, and a blame-free environment promote reporting of medical errors
Many primary care errors stem from problems with access to clinicians and doctor/patient interaction
Improving nurses' working conditions can potentially decrease the incidence of many infectious diseases
Although high-intensity pain has been linked to adverse outcomes, many hospitalized patients report severe pain as acceptable
Researchers identify features of primary care practice that enhance the quality of pediatric asthma care
Underreporting of medical errors affecting children is a significant problem, particularly among physicians

Children's Health

Misconceptions are common among child care center staff about the need for antibiotics for upper respiratory infections
Patterns of care and outcomes of pneumonia in children vary substantially by ethnicity and race
Some low-income parents do not recognize mental health problems and service needs of children with special health care needs
Use of antipsychotic medications nearly doubled among low-income children in Tennessee in the late 1990s
Two approaches hold promise for lowering U.S. infant mortality rates, which are particularly high for minority infants
Physicians who feel confident in delivering preventive services to adolescents are more likely to screen them for risky behaviors

Clinical Decisionmaking

Clinical signs help identify blunt head trauma patients with unremarkable CT scans who may need neurosurgery
Risk of rupture from tubal pregnancy is highest within 48 hours after onset of symptoms
Women's preferences for prenatal testing depend more on their attitudes toward pregnancy outcomes than their age
Trauma centers should routinely screen trauma victims for mental health problems and alcohol abuse or dependence
Experts focus on prognosis, symptom management, and supportive care for patients with advanced heart failure

Outcomes/Effectiveness Research

Outcomes of repeat coronary bypass surgery are comparable to outcomes of initial bypass surgery
Cardiac resynchronization improves functioning and reduces deaths for certain heart failure patients
Obesity contributes to early-onset heart problems and longer hospital stays
Exercise may not mitigate the weight gain of late middle age, but it can reduce the risk of health decline
Diabetes-specific knowledge is associated with performance of self-management activities but not with outpatient care
Patients awaiting liver transplantation have poor quality of life

Elderly Health/Long-term Care

Patients with Alzheimer's disease and their caregivers need a comprehensive care program that addresses problem behaviors
Nursing home treatment for lower respiratory infection is safe and less costly than hospitalization for some residents

Minority Health

Evidence-based care for depression is clinically effective for minority patients
Researchers compare receipt of health care from public and private providers serving one North Carolina Indian tribe
Mail surveys and telephone interviews can be used to survey Asian Americans with limited English proficiency

HIV/AIDS Research

Maintenance of antiretroviral therapy despite low-level viremia in HIV patients appears to be appropriate

Health Care Costs and Financing

Inequities continue in reimbursement for mental health care compared with physical health care
Improved health insurance coverage may enhance access to care among rural Hispanic elders
When managed care market share increases in a geographic area, procedures decrease for Medicare fee-for-service patients

Agency News and Notes

Major health plans and organizations join AHRQ in working to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in health care


AHRQ announces list of priority conditions for research under the Medicare Modernization Act
New AHRQ consumer tool puts a quit plan in a smoker's hands

Research Briefs

Current as of December 2004
AHRQ Publication No. 05-0028

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