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Electronic Newsletter

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August 6, 2004, Issue No. 144

AHRQ News and Numbers

From 1993 to 2002, the number of hospital discharges for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) increased from 461,000 to 619,000. Average length of stay decreased from 7.2 to 5.1 days. Average total charges per discharge increased from $10,500 to $15,400. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, HCUP, Nationwide Inpatient Sample, 1993-2002, HCUPnet.]

Today's Headlines:

  1. Coming soon—new AHRQ Patient Safety E-newsletter
  2. AHRQ limits budget on research and conference grant applications
  3. Some programs to increase exercise have lasting benefits
  4. MEPS data users' workshop
  5. New measures added to AHRQ's National Quality Measures Clearinghouse™
  6. AHRQ in the professional literature

1.  Coming Soon—New AHRQ Patient Safety E-newsletter

Starting this fall, AHRQ will be publishing a new online resource—AHRQ's Patient Safety E-newsletter. AHRQ will publish the E-newsletter periodically to make important patient safety news and information available to you in a timely fashion. The E-newsletter will feature concise descriptions of information from AHRQ's published research as well as new initiatives, upcoming meetings, and award announcements. For the reader who desires more in-depth information, there will be Web links to more detailed material. Please tell your colleagues about our new newsletter.

2.  AHRQ Limits Budget on Research and Conference Grant Applications

Beginning October 1, AHRQ is implementing a budget limit for large research and conference grant applications. The budget limit for large research grant applications (R01, R18) is $300,000 per year total. For large conference grant applications (R13), the total budget is $100,000 per year total. AHRQ is implementing this policy due to limitations on available grant funds. This new limit, which will be in effect until further notice, is being implemented for budgets on all competing large research and conference grant applications submitted to AHRQ, including new, amended, and competing continuation applications, unless otherwise indicated in a specific grant announcement. Select to read the notice in the NIH Guide.

3.  Some Programs To Increase Exercise Have Lasting Benefits

AHRQ released a new evidence report supported by NIH's National Cancer Institute that shows that some behavior modification programs designed to increase exercise show continued effects for at least 3 months after they end. However, the review of existing evidence also demonstrated that it is difficult to achieve sustainable gains in increased physical activity because few studies looked at the effects of these programs for more than 1 year. In addition to reviewing evidence from physical activity interventions in healthy populations, the authors also examined the effects of exercise on cancer survivors-people living with cancer or those who have a personal history of the disease. The report, Effectiveness of Behavioral Interventions to Modify Physical Activity Behaviors in General Populations and Cancer Patients and Survivors, was prepared by AHRQ's University of Minnesota Evidence-based Practice Center in Minneapolis. Select to access the press release and the summary. A print copy of the report is available by sending an E-mail to

4.  MEPS Data Users' Workshop

AHRQ is conducting a 2-day workshop on September 20-21 to facilitate the use of the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Household Component (MEPS-HC) public use data files on prescribed medicines and health insurance status (person-level data) by the health services research community. The workshop will provide both practical information about MEPS files and an opportunity to construct analytic files with the assistance of AHRQ staff. Enrollment is limited to a maximum of 20 participants. The workshop will be held at AHRQ's Conference Center in Rockville, MD. Select to access the Workshop Schedule for program description and registration and logistical information.

5.  New Measures Added to AHRQ's National Quality Measures Clearinghouse™

Quality measures on type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease, mental health, substance abuse, obstetrical labor, and breast disease were added to the National Quality Measures Clearinghouse™ (NQMC) during the monthly of July. On August 4, measures related to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and adult degenerative joint disease were published in NQMC. NQMC is a database and Web site that provides an accessible mechanism for obtaining detailed information on quality measures and furthers their dissemination, implementation, and use in order to inform health care decisions. Select to subscribe to NQMC's Weekly Update Service, which notifies you via E-mail when new or updated quality measures become available.

6.  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.

Andrews JE, Pearce KA, Sydney C, et al. Current state of information technology use in a US primary care practice-based research network. Inform Prim Care 2004;12(1):11-8. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

van der Steen JT, Kruse RL, Ooms ME, et al. Treatment of nursing home residents with dementia and lower respiratory tract infection in the United States and the Netherlands: an ocean apart. J Am Geriatr Soc 2004 May;52(5):691-9. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Wee CC, McCarthy EP, Davis RB, et al. Obesity and breast cancer screening. J Gen Intern Med 2004 Apr;19(4):324-31. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Learman LA, Summitt RL Jr, Varner RE, et al. Hysterectomy versus expanded medical treatment for abnormal uterine bleeding: clinical outcomes in the medicine or surgery trial. Obstet Gynecol 2004 May;103(5 Pt 1):824-33. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Hu KK, Lipsky BA, Veenstra DL, et al. Using maximal sterile barriers to prevent central venous catheter-related infection: a systematic evidence-based review. Am J Infect Control 2004 May;32(3):142-6. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Unruh ML, Levey AS, D'Ambrosio C, et al. Restless legs symptoms among incident dialysis patients: association with lower quality of life and shorter survival. Am J Kidney Dis 2004 May;43(5):900-9. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Auerbach AD, Pantilat SZ. End-of-life care in a voluntary hospitalist model: effects on communication, processes of care, and patient symptoms. Am J Med 2004 May 15;116(10):669-75. 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 August 2004


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