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November 21, 2003, Issue No. 116

AHRQ News and Numbers

In 2002, black children were the most likely to be covered just by public health insurance (46.9 percent compared with 38.3 percent of Hispanic and 18.4 percent of white children). In addition, the percentage of black children who were uninsured declined significantly between 1996 and 2002 (from 17.6 percent to 11.1 percent). [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, MEPS Statistical Brief #28: Health Insurance Status of Children in America—1996-2002, Estimates for the Noninstitutionalized Population Under Age 18 (PDF File, 319 KB; PDF Help).]

Today's Headlines:

  1. AHRQ issues three new RFAs to support health information technology to improve patient safety and quality of care
  2. AHRQ commends IOM data standards report
  3. Five new surge capacity grants awarded as part of AHRQ's bioterrorism preparedness portfolio
  4. Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Web seminar set for January 21
  5. Call for abstracts for AcademyHealth annual research meeting
  6. Data from the 2001 State Inpatient Database now available
  7. Getting the Word Out About Good Information to Help Smokers Quit
  8. Guidelines added to the National Guideline Clearinghouse™
  9. AHRQ in the professional literature

1.  AHRQ Issues Three New RFAs to Support Health Information Technology to Improve Patient Safety and Quality of Care

AHRQ announced three new Requests for Applications (RFAs) for approximately 100 grants to plan, implement, and demonstrate the value of health information technology to improve patient safety and quality of care. The $41 million grant program, "Transforming Healthcare Through Information Technology," will be part of a $50 million portfolio of grants, contracts, and other activities to demonstrate the role of health information technology to improve patient safety and the quality of care. The RFAs emphasize the importance of partnerships with rural communities and with small and rural hospitals. Select to access the press release and the RFAs.

2.  AHRQ Commends IOM Data Standards Report

AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D., issued a statement on November 20 commending the Institute of Medicine Committee on Data Standards for Patient Safety for its new report, "Patient Safety: Achieving a New Standard for Care." The report, requested and funded by AHRQ, provides input on how patient safety can be improved through the establishment of a national health information infrastructure and health data standards. AHRQ's statement highlights HHS support for the National Health Information Infrastructure initiative and AHRQ funding soon to be available for information technology grants and projects. Select to access the press statement and to order the report.

3.  Five New Surge Capacity Grants Awarded as Part of AHRQ's Bioterrorism Preparedness Portfolio

Five new grants totaling nearly $5 million have been funded under AHRQ's grant program, "Building the Evidence to Promote Bioterrorism and Other Public Health Emergency Preparedness in Health Care Systems." Each of the five grants addresses a vital area of bioterrorism preparedness concern known as surge capacity, which is a health care system's ability to rapidly expand beyond normal services to meet the increased demand for qualified personnel, medical care, and public health in the event of a large-scale public health emergency or disaster. The new awards were made to:

  • Weill Medical College, Cornell University in New York, "Modeling the U.S. Health System's Epidemic Response Capacity," ($840,262).
  • Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, "Discharge Criteria for Creation of Hospital Surge Capacity," ($911,199).
  • University of Florida in Gainesville, "Bioterrorism Preparedness in Rural and Urban Communities," ($889,072).
  • Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, "Preparing Volunteer Nurses for Public Health Emergencies," ($1,090,145).
  • Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, "Evaluation of Bioterrorism Training for Clinicians," ($991,843).

To learn more about these and other projects in the Agency's bioterrorism research preparedness and response portfolio, select to access the Web site.

4.  Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Web Seminar Set for January

Register now for a 2-hour Web-assisted audio conference on AHRQ's Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) on Wednesday, January 21, from 1:00 pm. to 3:00 p.m. EST. The seminar, "The Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project: Data and Tools to Support Health Services Research," is an introductory course. HCUP is a comprehensive set of all-payer inpatient and outpatient administrative, encounter-level data. Learn about its uses, how to obtain it, and the technical assistance offered through AHRQ. Select to access complete information.

5.  Call for Abstracts for AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting

AcademyHealth has issued a call for abstracts for its annual research meeting to be held June 6-8 in San Diego. Abstracts, due January 15, are invited for papers, posters, and panels. Select to access the AcademyHealth Web site to submit your abstract online and for more information.

6.  Data From the 2001 State Inpatient Database Now Available

2001 State Inpatient Database (SID) data are now available through the HCUP Central Distributor for the following States: CA, CO, FL, IA, KY, ME, MD, MA, NJ, NY, NC, OR, SC, UT, WA, WV, and WI. Contact information for the 33 States included in the HCUP partnership is available at the Web site. Each SID data set contains the universe of that State's non-Federal hospital discharge abstracts. In aggregate, the SID represent approximately 80 percent of all U.S. hospital discharges, totaling over 28 million inpatient discharge abstracts. The SID are particularly well-suited for policy inquiries unique to a specific State, studies comparing two or more States, market area research, and small area variation analyses. Select to access the Web site to purchase 2001 SID data. Select to access HCUPnet to access free statistics based on 2001 SID data.

7.  Getting the Word Out About Good Information to Help Smokers Quit

AHRQ worked to get the word out about good information to help smokers quit in conjunction with the Great American Smokeout on November 20. AHRQ produced radio public service announcements (PSAs) encouraging more African Americans and Hispanics to put down cigarettes and pick up healthier lifestyles. PSAs directed listeners to call the AHRQ Clearinghouse for materials to help them quit smoking. Select to access the complete portfolio of evidence-based tobacco cessation materials. Finally, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force released recommendations supporting screening of patients for tobacco use and tobacco cessation interventions for those who use tobacco products. Select to access the new Task Force recommendations.

8.  Guidelines Added to the National Guideline Clearinghouse™

To see what's new at the National Guideline Clearinghouse™ (NGC)—a public resource for evidence-based clinical practice guidelines—select What's New. To subscribe to the NGC Weekly Update Service, which notifies you via E-mail when new features and guidelines become available at the NGC Web site, select registration. AHRQ also has available a supply of NGC tutorials on CD-ROM. The tutorial walks you through a series of informative demonstrations and scenarios on using the NGC. The CD-ROM is available free of charge by calling the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse at 1-800-358-9295 or by sending an E-mail to

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.

Wu N, Miller SC, Lapane K, Gozalao P. The problem of assessment bias when measuring the hospice effect on nursing home residents' pain. J Pain Symptom Manage 2003 Nov 26;(5): 998-1009. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Iezzoni LI, Davis RB, Soukup J, et al. Quality dimensions that most concern people with physical and sensory disabilities. Arch Intern Med 2003 Sep 22;163(17):2085-91. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Paneth N, Qui H, Rosenbaum P, et al. Reliability of classification of cerebral palsy in low-birthweight children in four countries. Dev Med Child Neurol 2003 Sep;45(9):628-33. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Saint S, Zemencuk JK, Hayward RA, et al. What effect does increasing inpatient time have on outpatient-oriented internist satisfaction? J Gen Intern Med 2003 Sep;18(9):725-9. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Dobalian A, Tsao JC, Radcliff TA. Diagnosed mental and physical health conditions in the United States nursing home population; differences between urban and rural facilities. J Rural Health 2003 Fall;19(4):477-83. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Sommers AR, Wholey DR. The effect of HMO competition on gatekeeping, usual source of care, and evaluations of physician thoroughness. Am J Manag Care 2003 Sep;9(9):618-27. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Fleishman JA, Hellinger FH. Recent trenda in HIV-related inpatient admissions 1996-2000: a 7-state study. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 2003 Sep 1;34(1):102-10. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Contact Information

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Current as of November 2003


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