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July 23, 2004, Issue No. 142

AHRQ News and Numbers

The percentage of people not in the military or living in institutions who purchased a prescribed medicine increased from about 57 percent in 1987 to about 65 percent in 2001. The average total amount each person paid out of pocket for those prescribed medicines more than doubled from 1987 to 2001, from approximately $144 in 1987 (in 2001 dollars) to $321 in 2001. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, MEPS Statistical Brief #33: Outpatient Prescribed Medicines: A Comparison of Use and Expenditures, 1987 and 2001 (PDF File, 123 KB; PDF Help).]

Today's Headlines:

  1. Secretary announces new health information technology framework
  2. AHRQ National Advisory Council meeting scheduled for July 30
  3. Workshop on practicing evidence-based health care set for August
  4. AHRQ in the professional literature

1.  Secretary Announces New Health Information Technology Framework

HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson on July 21 announced a 10-year plan to transform the delivery of health care by building a new health information infrastructure, including electronic health records and a new network to link health records nationwide. Secretary Thompson also announced a number of new action steps to help advance health information technology. The framework builds in part on a $60 million health information technology (HIT) program at AHRQ, including $50 million in Fiscal Year 2004 for grants and contracts to support the development, adoption, and evaluation of HIT in a variety of health care settings, especially rural and underserved communities. These awards will be announced in late September or early October. An additional $10 million will be invested by AHRQ in partnership with HHS's Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation for the development and adoption of HIT standards. Select to access information on the new framework, including the fact sheet and press release about it.

2.  AHRQ National Advisory Council Meeting Scheduled for July 30

The AHRQ National Advisory Council is scheduled to meet on Friday, July 30, at the Hubert H. Humphrey Building in Washington, DC. The Council will discuss these specific topics: demonstrations of two interactive Web-based data tools from AHRQ's Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUPnet) and Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPSnet), information technology activities and goals, and the Federal plan for information technology in health care. Select to read the press release and an overview of the Council.

3.  Workshop on Practicing Evidence-Based Health Care Set for August

Mark your calendar! AHRQ is co-sponsoring a 5-day workshop with the University of Colorado School of Medicine, the Department of Preventive Medicine & Biometrics, and the Rocky Mountain Prevention Research Center to be held August 8-12 at the Keystone Resort in Keystone, CO. The workshop is designed to challenge participants to integrate their skills in decisionmaking with patients, communication, and policymaking. Participants focus on their specific interest areas using a small-group, problem-solving format. Select to access the Web site to register and for more information.

4.  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.

Bravata D, McDonald K, Haberland C, et al. Systematic review: surveillance systems for early detection of bioterrorism-related diseases. Ann Intern Med 2004 Jun 1;140(11):910-22. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Milch CE, Edmunson JM, Beshansky JR, et al. Smoking cessation in primary care: a clinical effectiveness trial of two simple interventions. Prev Med 2004 Mar;38(3):284-94. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Huang SS, Finkelstein JA, Rifas-Shiman SL, et al. Community-level predictors of pneumococcal carriage and resistance in young children. Am J Epidemiol 2004 Apr 1;159(7):645-54. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Mark BA, Harless DW, McCue M, et al. A longitudinal examination of hospital registered nurse staffing and quality of care. Health Serv Res 2004 Apr;39(2):279-300. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Lee SY, Arozullah AM, Cho YI. Health literacy, social support and health: a research agenda. Soc Sci Med 2004 Apr;58(7):1309-21. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Berenholtz SM, Milanovich S, Faircloth A, et al. Improving care for the ventilated patient. Jt Comm J Qual Saf 2004 Apr;30(4):195-204. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Redd WH. Commentary: the evolution of evidence-based psychotherapy. J Clin Psychol 2004 Apr;60(4):445-6. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Contact Information

Please address comments and questions regarding the AHRQ Electronic Newsletter to Nancy Comfort at or (301) 427-1866.

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Current as of July 2004


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