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January 9, 2004, Issue No. 120

AHRQ News and Numbers

The five therapeutic classes of drugs accounting for the largest expenses in the community population in 1999 were cardiovascular agents, hormones, central nervous system agents, psychotherapeutic agents, and respiratory agents. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, MEPS Chartbook No. 12: Outpatient Prescription Drug Expenses—1999.

Today's Headlines:

  1. Reminder: letters of intent due February 6 for three new RFAs on health information technology
  2. AHRQ study on DNR orders in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society
  3. AHRQ-supported research in January issue of Diabetes Care
  4. AHRQ/CERTs collaboration with AAHP-HIAA on new Web site to improve medication use
  5. Commonwealth Fund Web cast on quality and disparities reports set for January 13
  6. HCUP Web seminar set for January 21
  7. Translating Research Into Practice conference scheduled July 12-14
  8. What's new at the National Quality Measures Clearinghouse™
  9. AHRQ in the professional literature

1.  Reminder: Letters of Intent Due February 6 for Three New RFAs on Health Information Technology

Letters of Intent are due February 6 for the three Requests for Applications (RFAs) AHRQ recently announced to fund approximately 100 grants to plan, implement, and demonstrate the value of health information technology to improve patient safety and quality of care. The RFAs for this $41 million grant program, "Transforming Healthcare Through Information Technology," emphasize the importance of partnerships with rural communities and with small and rural hospitals. The application receipt date is April 22. Select to access the RFAs.

2.  AHRQ Study on DNR Orders in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society

A study in the January issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that nursing home residents who had do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders were 30 percent less likely to be hospitalized than other nursing home residents with similar medical conditions, according to researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia's School of Medicine. Researchers also indicate that DNRs may function as a marker for limiting care rather than a vehicle for discussing care goals, including the use or withholding of medical interventions. AHRQ co-funded the study with HRSA and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

3.  AHRQ-Supported Research in January Issue of Diabetes Care

Research shows that application of new techniques of care from HRSA's Diabetes Health Disparities Collaborative led to significant improvements in diabetes care in 19 Midwestern health centers within only 1 year. Findings of the study are published in the January issue of Diabetes Care. Researchers, led by Dr. Marshall Chin of the University of Chicago, found that performance rates of the hemoglobin A1c blood test, an important and reliable test for measuring average blood sugar levels, rose from 80 percent to 90 percent. Also, rates of other essential aspects of care for people managing their diabetes, including eye exams, dietary counseling, foot exams, dental referrals, and tests for lipids and urine microalbumin all improved. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

4.  AHRQ/CERTs Collaboration with AAHP-HIAA on New Web Site to Improve Medication Use

The AHRQ-sponsored HMO Research Network Center for Education and Research on Therapeutics (CERTs) collaborated with the American Association of Health Plans-Health Insurance Association of America (AAHP-HIAA) to develop content for a new Web site, "The Tools and Techniques of Improved Medication Use," for those in the health care community who design medication safety programs and/or seek information to enhance existing patient safety efforts. The site includes selected studies as well as resources needed to replicate strategies known to achieve important results in medication safety and use. Visit the AAHP Web site to view the tool and techniques on medication use.

5.  Commonwealth Fund Web Cast on Quality and Disparities Reports Set for January 13

The Commonwealth Fund is sponsoring a live Web cast featuring "The Role of the Federal Government in Improving Health Care Quality: An Expert Discussion" on Tuesday, January 13 from 2:00-3:00 p.m. EDT. The Fund has convened a panel of experts in health care quality to discuss the issues raised in AHRQ's National Healthcare Quality Report and National Healthcare Disparities Report and a published article in Health Affairs by the Fund researchers urging greater federal leadership in quality improvement efforts. Speakers are: AHRQ's Acting Deputy Director Robert Graham, M.D.; Stephen C. Schoenbaum, M.D., The Commonwealth Fund; Kenneth W. Kizer, M.D., M.P.H., National Quality Forum; and Dennis S. O'Leary, M.D., Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. Visit the Commonwealth Fund Web site for more information on the Web cast.

6.  HCUP Web Seminar Set for January 21

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 for more information.

7.  Translating Research Into Practice Conference Scheduled July 12 - 14

Mark your calendars for TRIP 2004, "Translating Research Into Practice: Advancing Excellence from Discovery to Delivery." This expanded conference will examine the state-of-the-art and next horizons in implementing research in clinical practice and health policy. Health care provider organizations, clinicians, patients, purchasers, researchers, innovators, knowledge transfer experts and others from across the public and private sectors will share experiences, insights, collaborations, and initiatives for moving research into sustained behavior change. The TRIP planning committee is accepting abstracts for papers to be presented at concurrent paper sessions and poster presentations during the conference.

8.  What's New at the National Quality Measures Clearinghouse™

To see what new features and measures have been added to AHRQ's National Quality Measures Clearinghouse™ (NQMC)—a Web-based public resource of the most current evidence-based quality measures and measure sets available to evaluate and improve the quality of health care—select What's New. You can receive updates to the site via E-mail by subscribing to the NQMC Weekly Update Service. Select to register. For information on submitting quality measures, or for general questions, please send 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.

Shields AE, Comstock C, Finkelstein JA, et al. Comparing asthma care provided to Medicaid-enrolled children in a Primary Care Case Manager plan and a staff model HMO. Ambul Pediatr 2003 Sep-Oct;3(5):253-62. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Fleishman JA, Sherbourne CD, Cleary PD, et al. Patterns of coping among persons with HIV infection: configurations, correlates, and change. Am J Community Psychol 2003; Sep;32(1-2):187-204. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Cole SR, Hernan MA, Robins JM, et al. Effect of highly active antiretroviral therapy on time to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or death using marginal structural models. Am J Epidemiol 2003 Oct 1;158(7):687-94. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Howard DE, Kaljee L, Rachuba LT, et al. Coping with youth violence: assessments by minority parents in public housing. Am J Health Behav 2003 Sep-Oct;27(5):483-92. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

McAuley WJ, Travis SS. Advance care planning among residents in long-term care. Am J Hosp Palliat Care 2003 Sep-Oct;20(5):353-9. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Hays RD, Chong K, Brown J, et al. Patient reports and ratings of individual physicians: an evaluation of the DoctorGuide and Consumer Assessment of Health Plans Study provider-level surveys. Am J Med Qual 2003 Sep-Oct;18(5):190-6. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

M'ikanatha NM, Southwell B, Lautenbach E. Automated laboratory reporting of infectious diseases in a climate of bioterrorism. Emerg Infect Dis 2003 Sep;9(9):1053-7. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Annett RD, Bender BG, DuHamel TR, et al. Factors influencing parent reports on quality of life for children with asthma. J Asthma 2003;40(5):577-87. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Contact Information

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Current as of January 2004


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