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September 7, 2000, Issue No. 13

AHRQ News and Numbers

Today's Headlines:

  1. Evidence report on the prediction of risk for patients with unstable angina
  2. Integrated delivery system research network
  3. Protecting data privacy in health services research
  4. Notice of grant award letter: new format
  5. HCUP Web site updated, including SASD information
  6. Use of MEPS-IC data for gross domestic product estimates
  7. HCUPnet data available
  8. Society for medical decision making symposium
  9. Job openings at AHRQ
  10. Guidelines Added to National Guideline Clearinghouse™ (NGC)
  11. Highlights from the most recent edition of our monthly newsletter
  12. New AHRQ publication
  13. Factoids

1.  Evidence Report on the Prediction of Risk for Patients with Unstable Angina

AHRQ announced on August 31 the availability of a summary of an evidence report on unstable angina prepared by UCSF-Stanford Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC). The EPC was asked to conduct a systematic review of the current literature on unstable angina, including studies of the prognostic value of patient history, physical exam, electrocardiogram and other diagnostic tests such as troponin to identify a patient's risk for unstable angina. Select to access the summary. Print copies of the summary are available from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse, 1-800-358-9295. Copies of the full report will be available later this year.

2.  Integrated Delivery System Research Network

AHRQ has awarded contracts to nine research consortia to establish its Integrated Delivery System Research Network (IDSRN). This new model of field-based research, which links the nation's top researchers with some of its largest managed care organizations and other health care providers, will enable AHRQ to accelerate the pace of its research.

The nine awardees, most of whom have multiple partners, are:

  1. Abt Associates, Inc.
  2. UnitedHealth Services' Center for Health Policy and Evaluation.
  3. Denver Health.
  4. Kaiser Foundation Research Institute.
  5. Research Triangle Institute.
  6. USQA Center for Health Care Research (a subsidiary of Aetna U.S. Healthcare).
  7. Marshfield Medical Research and Education Foundation (the research division of Marshfield Clinic).
  8. University of Minnesota Division of Health Services Research and Policy.
  9. Weill Medical College of Cornell University.

3.  Protecting Data Privacy in Health Services Research

The Institute of Medicine released a report of the study "Protecting Data Privacy in Health Services Research" with recommendations on the protection of privacy and the role of institutional review boards in health services research. Select to access ordering information from the HHS Data Council Privacy Committee Web site. The study was funded by AHRQ and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation.

4.  Notice of Grant Award Letter: New Format

Effective September 2000, AHRQ will begin the transition from the current Notice of Grant Award (NGA) Form PHS-5152-5 to a letter format NGA. This will apply to all AHRQ grant, cooperative agreement, and fellowship awards. Select for more information.

5.  HCUP Web Site Updated, Including SASD Information

Information about the State Ambulatory Surgery Databases (SASD), a new set of databases announced in June from AHRQ's Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP), can now be accessed online. Select to access online information. Additional updates to the HCUP Web site reflect changes to more than 60 pages describing the project and hundreds of pages of technical documentation for the databases. Select to access more information.

6.  Use of MEPS-IC Data for Gross Domestic Product Estimates

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) issued the revised gross domestic product (GDP) estimates for 1997 through the first quarter of 2000. One of the key methodological changes announced with this release was the use of a new data source for employer contributions to group health insurance, which accounts for about one-half of the "other labor income" category. These revised estimates are based on AHRQ's Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) that covers both health insurance purchased by employers for their employees and health insurance provided by employers on a self-insured basis.

Improving the data available to make these estimates was a primary data need identified by BEA. Until this revision, using MEPS their methodology has been based on taking data from several different sources and deriving estimates by making numerous analytical assumptions. The weaknesses of these data for the purpose they were being used and the known problems associated with the estimates derived from them have been of concern to BEA for some time. With the data now available from the MEPS survey, BEA believes that they have a more reliable source of estimates based on annually collected data. Select to access the press release.

7.  HCUPnet Data Available

HCUPnet now provides national data on all listed diagnoses and procedures, in addition to data on principal diagnoses and procedures. The "all-listed" feature is available for detailed 1997 data and for 1993-1997 trends. "All-listed" means that all diagnoses and procedures listed on the discharge record are represented in the data, rather than just the principal, or "first-listed." This is especially important for conditions that tend to be comorbidities (like diabetes) or for less invasive procedures (like endoscopies) that are performed during a stay in which a major procedure was also performed. Select to access more information.

8.  Society for Medical Decision Making Symposium

The Society for Medical Decision Making (SMDM) Symposium on Cost-effectiveness Analysis, funded through an AHRQ conference grant, will take place on September 24-27 in Cincinnati. The theme of the meeting is "The Value of Health."

9.  Job Openings at AHRQ

Select to see the complete list.

10.  Guidelines Added to National Guideline Clearinghouse™ (NGC)

During the month of August, 22 guidelines were added to the NGC. There are nearly 850 guidelines in the NGC. Select to access these guidelines and others.

  • Therapeutic guidelines for nonsurgical antimicrobial prophylaxis.
  • Therapeutic guidelines on antimicrobial prophylaxis in surgery.
  • Poliomyelitis prevention in the United States.
  • Guidelines for percutaneous transluminal angioplasty.
  • Angioplasty standard of practice.
  • Diagnostic arteriography in adults.
  • Guidelines regarding HIV and other bloodborne pathogens in vascular/interventional radiology.
  • Family visitation and partnership in the critical care unit.
  • Infant and family-centered developmental care.
  • Cholecystectomy.
  • Treatment of gallstone and gallbladder disease.
  • Treatment of acute pancreatitis.
  • Operative treatment for chronic pancreatitis.
  • Surgical treatment of cancer of the colon or rectum.
  • Surgical treatment of diverticulitis.
  • Surgical treatment of reflux esophagitis.
  • Surgical management of hemorrhoids.
  • Surgical repair of groin hernias.
  • Surgical treatment of pancreatic cancer.
  • Indications for splenectomy.
  • Achalasia.
  • Management of colonic polyps and adenomas.
  • Assessment: dermatomal somatosensory evoked potentials.
  • Diagnosis and management of achalasia.

11.  Highlights from the Most Recent Edition of Our Monthly Newsletter

The new issue of Research Activities is in the mail. The key articles are:

  • Later effects of persistent middle-ear fluid in the first 3 years of life are questionable.
  • Stroke type influences chance of recurrence, survival, and poststroke functioning.
  • Coordination between primary care physicians and specialists improves the quality of the referral process.
  • Materials now available for quality improvement of depression care in primary care practices.

Select to access the August issue of Research Activities.

12.  New AHRQ Publication

National Guideline Clearinghouse™ brochure.

13.  Factoid

For 10-14 year-olds in the United States, depression and other mental disorders rank in the top 10 reasons for hospitalization. [McCormick, M.C., et al. "Annual Report on Access to and Utilization of Health Care for Children and Youth in the United States-1999." Pediatrics 105, no. 1 pt. 3 (2000): 219-30].

Contact Information

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Current as of September 2000


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