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AHRQ releases the 2005 Guide to Clinical Preventive Services and other new publications

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality recently released the Guide to Clinical Preventive Services, 2005, which highlights current recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. These evidence-based recommendations for clinicians address preventive services including screening tests, counseling, and preventive medications for adults and children in the primary care setting.

The guide includes the Task Force's recommendations on prevention and early detection for cancer; heart and vascular diseases; infectious diseases; injury and violence; mental health and substance abuse; metabolic, nutritional, and endocrine conditions; musculoskeletal conditions, and obstetric and gynecologic conditions.

The guide contains recommendations that have been adapted for a pocket-size book, making it easier for clinicians to consult the recommendations in their daily practice. Recommendations are presented in an indexed, easy-to-use format, with at-a-glance charts. Select to access the Guide and other recommendation statements and supporting statements from the Task Force.

The guide is one of several resources that provide access to the Task Force's recommendations. Task Force recommendations are also available as a clinical decision support tool for personal digital assistants (PDAs), called the Electronic Preventive Services Selector (ePSS). This free application is available for download from the AHRQ Web site at

The Task Force, which is supported by AHRQ, is the leading independent panel of private-sector experts in prevention and primary care. The Task Force conducts rigorous, impartial assessments of the scientific evidence for a broad range of preventive services. Task Force recommendations are considered the gold standard for clinical preventive services.

A single free copy of the Guide to Clinical Preventive Services: Recommendations of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (AHRQ Publication No. 05-0570) is available from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse.

Three other new publications are also available from AHRQ, as follows.

Chronic Care for Low-Income Children with Asthma: Strategies for Improvement. Research in Action No. 18, by Mark W. Stanton, Denise Dougherty, and Margaret Rutherford (AHRQ Publication 05-0073). Available from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse.

Many children with asthma do not get the care they need despite the existence of asthma care guidelines and evidence about effective treatment. This report provides strategies to help policymakers and purchasers of health care and health insurance improve care for children with asthma. Increasing the use of controller medications—which are underused by children with asthma and especially by low-income and minority children—improves outcomes. Processes of asthma care for children enrolled in Medicaid managed care vary more by practice site than by health plan. Clinic-based organizational changes can help to improve asthma care for children. Cultural competence policies are associated with better quality asthma care for Medicaid-insured children.

Cost-Effectiveness Analysis in U.S. Healthcare Decision-Making. Where Is it Going? Supplement to Medical Care, Volume 43, Number 7, July 2005 (AHRQ Publication No. 05-M000). Available from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse.

This AHRQ-sponsored supplement describes recent developments in the use of cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) in U.S. health care decisionmaking. Although cost-effectiveness is frequently invoked as a desirable goal—and is a formal input to heath care decisions in many other countries—cost-effectiveness information has not been widely employed in U.S. health care. Nonetheless, there has been a noticeable evolution in its use over the past several years. The articles in this supplement present a range of views on the utility of CEA, obstacles to its wider use, the potential of new and emerging systems for incorporating CEA in decisionmaking processes, and necessary future steps. Included are an analysis by authors from the United Kingdom and an update from Ontario to provide context and contrast, discussions of recent U.S. efforts in both the public and private sectors, and commentary on these developments. Emphasis is placed on pharmaceutical decisions, reflecting the strong interest in economic analysis in this sector. The supplement provides a resource for policymakers, researchers, and administrators working to develop better ways of integrating information on the value of health care interventions into U.S. health care decisions. (Editor's Note: AHRQ has a limited supply of single, free copies of this journal supplement). Available from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse.

Hospitalization in the United States, 2002. HCUP Fact Book No. 6, by Chaya T. Merrill and Anne Elixhauser (AHRQ Publication No. 05-0056).

This publication describes hospital care in the United States in 2002. It presents an overview of hospitals and discussion and tabular data on factors associated with hospital care, including sex and age of patients, common diagnoses, sources of admissions, hospital charges, payers of care, and disposition status (e.g., discharges to other institutions, in-hospital mortality, and patients leaving against medical advice. Available from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse.

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