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September 12, 2003, Issue No. 109

AHRQ News and Numbers

In 2001, average employee contributions were $498 for single health insurance coverage and $1,741 for family coverage. Employee contributions increased 10.8 percent and 7.8 percent, respectively, over 2000, continuing the trend from previous years. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, MEPS Statistical Brief #23, Employer-Sponsored Single, Employee-Plus-One and Family Health Insurance Coverage: Selection and Cost, 2001 (PDF File, 161 KB; PDF Help).]

Today's Headlines:

  1. New AHRQ-funded study finds fewer antibiotics prescribed for American children
  2. Joint Commission and National Quality Forum announce the John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety Awards
  3. Sixth issue of AHRQ WebM&M is online now
  4. Implementation of AHRQ policy on the inclusion of priority populations in research begins October 1
  5. Research in Action synthesis on dental care
  6. New evidence report summary on monitoring of diabetes
  7. Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day is September 16
  8. AHRQ releases Clinician's Handbook Resources Update
  9. AHRQ in the professional literature

1.  New AHRQ-Funded Study Finds Fewer Antibiotics Prescribed for American Children

AHRQ researchers found that, after decades of being on the rise, antibiotic use by American children fell by almost 25 percent from 1996 to 2000. The study, based on records from nine large HMOs, found that more than half of the decrease came from a drop in antibiotics prescribed for ear infections. Awareness by the public health and professional groups and attention by the news media to antibiotic resistance may have contributed to the decline in diagnoses, resulting in changed prescribing practices, according to the researchers. The new study was conducted by the HMO Research Network, which is one of seven AHRQ-funded Centers for Education and Research on Therapeutics (CERTs) that conduct research and provide education that will advance the best use of drugs, medical devices, and biological products. The study, "Reduction in Antibiotic Use Among U.S. Children, 1996-2000" was published in the September 2 issue of the journal Pediatrics. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

2.  Joint Commission and National Quality Forum Announce the John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety Awards

The JCAHO and NQF announced the 2003 recipients of the annual John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety Awards. This year's awards will be presented at the NQF's Fourth Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, on September 30. Honorees were selected in three of the four Award categories. The honorees are:

  • Jeffrey Cooper, Ph.D., Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Individual Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • The Leapfrog Group, Washington, DC, Advocacy Award (national recipient).
  • Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network, Allentown, PA, Advocacy Award (local recipient).
  • Abington Memorial Hospital, Abington, PA, System Innovation Award.

3.  Sixth Issue of AHRQ WebM&M Is Online Now

The sixth issue of the AHRQ WebM&M patient safety journal is now online. This month's cases include a carbamazepine overdose due to failure to shake the bottle, a patient in whom a retained sponge was found during an autopsy, a woman who suffered cardiac arrest while undergoing hysteroscopy, and a patient given intravenous diltiazem rather than saline, requiring temporary pacemaker placement. This month's Spotlight case is about an infant whose blood oxygen level dropped acutely as the team prepared to intubate her. Video simulations that accompany the commentary demonstrate what might have gone wrong in the case, along with how the case might have gone differently had teamwork been better and read-backs been used. As always, the Spotlight case also includes a downloadable slide set. By completing the Spotlight quiz, clinicians can receive CME credit and trainees can receive certification in patient safety, thereby helping to meet new Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education requirements for systems-based learning. In addition, there are more nurses and pharmacists among this month's commentators. Previous issues' cases and CME are all still available, under "Archives" and "Past Issues." Select to access the WebM&M Web site.

4.  Implementation of AHRQ Policy on the Inclusion of Priority Populations in Research Begins October 1

A new AHRQ policy on the inclusion of priority populations in health services research, which was published in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts on February 28, takes effect October 1. This policy was developed to implement a directive in the Healthcare Research and Quality Act of 1999 that reauthorized the Agency. The policy, which asks all AHRQ grant applicants to consider including subjects from one or more priority populations in their planned research projects, will begin with all grant applications submitted to AHRQ for the October 1 receipt date. The Agency intends to use this policy to help develop and maintain a broad portfolio of research inclusive of a diverse set of populations. Select to access the NIH Guide to read the notice.

5.  Research in Action Synthesis on Dental Care

AHRQ released a Research in Action synthesis, Dental Care: Improving Access and Quality. This synthesis suggests that educating families about how to access and enroll in the Medicaid system, streamlining Medicaid administrative procedures, and adjusting provider reimbursement could facilitate broader access to dental care. Studies show that specific treatments such as dental sealants for children may have a positive impact on both health outcomes and costs. The quality of dental care can be further improved by developing and using performance measures for specific treatments. Select to access the synthesis. A print copy is available by sending an E-mail to

6.  New Evidence Report Summary on Monitoring of Diabetes

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Evidence-based Practice Center in Baltimore found that for type 1 and type 2 diabetes, more studies are needed to determine what the standard should be for collecting and measuring microalbuminuria. Additionally, researchers found that more studies are needed to better understand the relationship between glycated hemoglobin and macrovascular diabetic complications. Select to access the summary, Use of Glycated Hemoglobin and Microalbuminuria in the Monitoring of Diabetes Mellitus. A print copy is available by sending an E-mail to

7.  Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day Is September 16

HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson announced that HHS, ABC Radio Networks, and Radio Unica are working together to get the word out about Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day, scheduled for Tuesday, September 16. Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day is part of a national campaign that aims to close the health gap between the health of communities of color and the general population. The campaign, "Closing the Health Gap," was launched in November 2001. By encouraging individuals to visit a health care professional or make an appointment to do so on or near September 16, HHS hopes to help generate a greater understanding of the importance of regular health screenings.

8.  AHRQ Releases Clinician's Handbook Resources Update

AHRQ recently released the Clinician's Handbook Resources Update, which contains updated contact information and Web site addresses for those organizations referenced in the Patient and Provider Resources sections of each chapter of the complete Clinician's Handbook of Preventive Services, 2nd Edition. We developed this publication because the complete handbook will not be revised at this time. Users can find the information by organization name or by the page number on which it is referenced.

9.  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.

Seid M, Castaneda D, Mize R, et al. Crossing the border for health care: access and primary care characteristics for young children of Latino farm workers along the U.S.-Mexico border. Ambul Pediatr 2003 May-June;3(3):121-30. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Craig BM, Kreling DH, Mott DA. Do seniors get the medicines prescribed for them? Health Aff 2003 May-June;22(3):175-82. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Reeves SW, Tielsch JM, Katz J, et al. A self-administered health questionnaire for the preoperative risk stratification of patients undergoing cataract surgery. Am J Ophthalmol 2003 May;135(5):599-606. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Buller-Close K, Schriger DL, Baraff LJ. Heterogeneous effect of an emergency department expert charting system. Ann Emerg Med 2003 May;41(5):644-52. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Jiang HJ, Stryer D, Friedman B, et al. Multiple hospitalizations for patients with diabetes. Diabetes Care 2003 May;26(5):1421-6. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Pertakis KD, Franks P, Azari R. Effects of physician gender on patient satisfaction. J Am Med Womens Assoc 2003 Spring;58(2):69-75. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Contact Information

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Current as of September 2003


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