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September 24, 2004, Issue No. 148

AHRQ News and Numbers

Less than half (45.5 percent) of men in the United States ages 50-64 and about two-thirds of men age 65 and older received a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test to screen for prostate cancer within the last year. Regardless of health insurance status, men age 65 and older had a higher rate of PSA testing than did younger men ages 50-64. [Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, MEPS Statistical Brief #42: Screening for Prostate Cancer with the Prostate-Specific Antigen Test, United States, 2002 (PDF File, 141 KB; PDF Help).]

Today's Headlines:

  1. New guide helps communities prepare for vaccine and drug dispensing in the event of a bioterrorism or other public health emergency
  2. Partnerships in Implementing Patient Safety RFA announced
  3. Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day
  4. Research in Action on mental health available
  5. New evidence report summary on economic incentives for preventive care available
  6. New evidence report summary on islet transplantation in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus available
  7. Highlights from the most recent edition of our monthly newsletter
  8. AHRQ in the professional literature

1.  New Guide Helps Communities Prepare for Vaccine and Drug Dispensing in the Event of Bioterrorism or Other Public Health Emergency

A new planning guide funded by AHRQ is designed to help communities nationwide make sure that all Americans have needed drugs and vaccines in the event of a natural epidemic or bioterrorist attack. The new guide, Community-Based Mass Prophylaxis: A Planning Guide for Public Health Preparedness is designed to help State, county, and local officials meet Federal requirements for a public health emergency. Developed by a team of researchers in the Department of Public Health at Weill Medical College of Cornell University and New York-Presbyterian Hospital led by Nathaniel Hupert, M.D., M.P.H., the guide complements the Strategic National Stockpile guidebook prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which includes a chapter on dispensing medications and vaccines. Select to read our press release and the guide. A print copy of the guide is available by sending an E-mail to

2.  Partnerships in Implementing Patient Safety RFA Announced

AHRQ announced a new Request for Applications (RFA) seeking grants for partnerships in implementing patient safety. The objective of this RFA is to assist health care institutions in implementing safe practice interventions that show evidence of eliminating or reducing medical errors, risks, hazards, and harms associated with the process of care. These implementation projects will inform AHRQ, providers, patients, payers, policymakers, and the public about how safe practice interventions can be successfully implemented in diverse health care settings and lead to safer and better health care for all Americans. Letters of intent are due December 19 and the applications are due January 19, 2005. Select to read the RFA in the NIH Guide.

3.  Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day

HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson urged families across America to take a loved one to the doctor as part of President Bush's initiative to reduce the incidence of disease among racial and ethnic minority populations. September 21 was the third annual "Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day" that encourages individuals to make an appointment and go to a doctor or health professional for a health screening. Nearly 500 national, State and local organizations spanning 50 States, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico partnered with HHS to promote Doctor Day and host activities in their communities.

4.  Research in Action on Mental Health Available

AHRQ released a new synthesis called, Programs and Tools to Improve the Quality of Mental Health Services. This report highlights AHRQ-funded research that has led to the development of programs, methods, and tools for evaluating and improving the quality of mental health services and improving the education of mental health professionals. AHRQ-funded research addresses quality of care and outcomes for adolescents and patients with depression, schizophrenia, and domestic abuse. Highlights include: quality improvement programs for care and outcomes in treating depression, a screening tool that helps identify children and adolescents at risk for suicide, a consumer ratings assessment that can improve behavioral health services, and a conference that provides solutions to improve provider training and continuing education. Select to read the synthesis. A print copy of the synthesis is available by sending an E-mail to

5.  New Evidence Report Summary on Economic Incentives for Preventive Care Available

AHRQ released a new report, Economic Incentives for Preventive Care. AHRQ's Minnesota Evidence-based Practice Center reviewed evidence to evaluate the impact of explicit economic incentives targeted at motivating providers and consumers to promote the adoption of preventive health behaviors. The report cautiously indicates that consumer-focused economic incentives are effective in the short run for simple preventive care; however, there is insufficient evidence to suggest that economic incentives are effective for promoting long-term lifestyle changes required for health promotion. Select to read the summary. A print copy of the summary and the full report are available by sending an E-mail to

6.  New Evidence Report Summary on Islet Transplantation in Patients with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus Available

AHRQ released a new evidence report, Islet Transplantation in Patients with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus. This report highlights the success of islet transplantation as an alternative to whole-organ pancreas transplantation in patients with type 1 diabetes—also known as juvenile or insulin-dependent diabetes. Islet-alone transplantation has been used in a highly selected population of patients with type 1 diabetes who have had a history of complications with insulin therapy or consistent failure of insulin-based management to prevent complications. Three islet transplant centers reported that 76 percent of patients completing a transplant protocol remained insulin independent for 1 year. Four centers that followed 104 patients for at least 12 months report insulin independence in 50 percent to 90 percent of patients. The report was prepared by AHRQ's Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association Technology Evaluation Center Evidence-based Practice Center. Select to read the summary. A print copy of the summary and the full report are available by sending an E-mail to

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

Among the key articles in the online issue of Research Activities:

  • Studies show that obesity affects mammography accuracy and screening rates.

Obese women are at greater risk of dying from breast cancer than women who are not obese. One study found that white women who are obese are less likely than non-obese white women to obtain a mammograms. A second study found that obesity reduces the accuracy of mammograms. Obese women had more than a 20 percent increased risk of having false-positive mammography results compared with underweight and normal-weight women.

Other articles are:

  • Pediatricians can help promote literacy by encouraging parents to read daily to their young children.
  • Outcomes usually are poor among patients receiving home enteral nutrition from informal caregivers.
  • Patients of general internists and hospitality tend to have shorter hospital stays.

Select to read these articles and others.

8.  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.

Huddles ton JM, Long KHZ, Claessens JM, et al. Medical and surgical co management after elective hip and knee arthropods. Ann Intern Med 2004 Jul 6;141(1):28-38. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Johansen, JM., Trinkoff, A., Gray-Siracusa, K., Muntaner, C., Nielsen, K. Using state administrative data to study nonfatal worker injuries: challenges and opportunities. J Safety Res 2004:35(3):309-15. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Pollack HS, Dombkowski KJ, Zimmerman JB, et al. Emergency department use among Michigan children with special health care needs: an introductory study. Health Serv Res 2004 Jun;39(3):665-92. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Morales LS, Elliott M, Brown J, et al. The applicability of the Consumer Assessments of Health Plans Survey (CAHPS) to preferred provider organizations in the United Sates: a discussion of industry concerns. Int J Qual Health Care 2004 Jun;16(3):219-27. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Butler J, Arbogast PG, Daugherty J, et al. Outpatient utilization of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors among heart failure patients after discharge. J Am Coll Cardiol 2004 Jun;43(11):2036-43. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Contact Information

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Current as of September 2004


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