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November 12, 2004, Issue No. 153

AHRQ News and Numbers

In 2001, the U.S. population not in the military or living in an institution had total health care expenses of $726.4 billion. This consisted of payments for hospital inpatient and outpatient care; emergency room services; office-based medical provider services; dental services; home health care; prescription medicines; and other medical services and equipment. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, MEPS Statistical Brief #56: National Health Care Expenses in the U.S. Community Population, 2001 (PDF File, 163 KB; PDF Help).]

Today's Headlines:

  1. New survey helps hospitals measure and improve patient safety culture
  2. Cultural competence research agenda available
  3. Important research and products described in new AHRQ CERTs annual report
  4. New AHRQ bioterrorism issue brief available
  5. Revised HHS Public Health Service grant application now available
  6. RFA announced for Small Research Grants for Primary Care Practice-Based Research Networks
  7. CAHPS® User Group meeting scheduled for December 2-3
  8. Call for abstracts issued for AcademyHealth Annual Research meeting—deadline January 14
  9. New evidence report on youth violence and health-risking social behaviors available
  10. Highlights from the most recent edition of our monthly newsletter
  11. AHRQ in the professional literature

1.  New Survey Helps Hospitals Measure and Improve Patient Safety Culture

AHRQ announced a new tool to help hospitals and health systems evaluate employee attitudes about patient safety in their facilities or within specific units. The Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture, released in partnership with Premier, Inc., the Department of Defense, and the American Hospital Association, addresses a critical aspect of patient safety improvement: measuring organizational conditions that can lead to adverse events and patient harm. To ensure widespread awareness and use of the survey, AHRQ and its partners will host a toll-free audioconference in January 2005 to help health professionals adopt and use the survey. Details on the audioconference will be made available on the AHRQ Web site and in this electronic newsletter in early January. Select to read our press release and select to view the survey. A print copy may be ordered by sending an E-mail to

2.  Cultural Competence Research Agenda Available

Setting the Agenda for Research on Cultural Competence in Health Care examines the evidence on the impact of cultural competence interventions on the delivery of health care and health outcomes. A joint product of the HHS Office of Minority Health and AHRQ, Setting the Agenda explores what we know and what we need to know about culturally sensitive interventions (e.g., cultural competence education and training), language assistance (e.g., oral interpretation), and organizational supports for cultural competence (e.g., cultural competence self-assessments). The report also identifies opportunities for future research. Select to read an overview of the report. Print copies of the full report can be ordered from the Office of Minority Health Resource Center by sending an E-mail to

3.  Important Research and Products Described in New AHRQ CERTs Annual Report

More than 50 percent of patients treated in ERs for diarrhea, pneumonia, and urinary infections are treated inappropriately by physicians with antibiotics called fluoroquinolones, according to findings published in the AHRQ Centers for Education and Research on Therapeutics' (CERTs) Fourth Annual Report. Researchers indicate that some patients who received fluoroquinolones, which are used for a wide range of bacterial infections, received them outside of established guidelines. Some patients didn't have infections, should have received different antibiotics, or were not fully worked up before being treated. The CERTs annual report showcases other research findings, tools, and ongoing projects being conducted by seven CERTs nationwide. The AHRQ-funded CERTs program is a national initiative to increase awareness of the benefits and risks of new, existing, or combined uses of therapeutics through education and research. Select to access the CERTs Web site for more program information. A print copy of the report is available by sending an E-mail to

4.  New AHRQ Bioterrorism Issue Brief Available

AHRQ released a new issue brief on education and training efforts that are used to create and maintain the readiness of a qualified workforce to respond to a sudden increased demand in the need for health care (surge capacity) to respond to a bioterrorism event or other public health emergency. This issue brief summarizes presentations from AHRQ's Web-assisted audioconference on education and training initiatives sponsored by CDC and HRSA and examines two AHRQ-funded studies to develop noncontiguous, Web-based, and face-to-face training modules.

5.  Revised DHHS Public Health Service Grant Application Now Available

The newly revised application for a HHS Public Health Service Grant, PHS 398, rev. 9/04, instructions and forms are now available and will be accepted for submission/receipt dates on or after December 1. All applications received on or after May 10, 2005, must use the new instructions and forms. Select to read the notice and to view the forms and instructions.

6.  RFA Announced for Small Research Grants for Primary Care Practice-Based Research Networks

AHRQ released a new Request for Applications (RFA) for Primary Care Practice-Based Research Networks (PBRNs) for small research grants to conduct exploratory/pilot projects or feasibility studies. AHRQ intends to commit approximately $1 million in FY05 to fund approximately 10 new grants in response to this RFA. AHRQ is particularly interested in studies that explore (1) network strategies for assuring that research evidence is translated into actual practice and that its impact is assessed, (2) optimal methods of delivering preventive services and managing chronic diseases in primary care settings, (3) innovations in improving quality and ensuring safety in primary care practice, (4) strategies to decrease health and health care disparities, including those that incorporate the methods of community-based participatory research, (5) methods for improving systems capacity and responses to emerging public health threats, including acts of bioterrorism, and (6) innovative uses of information technology in primary care practices. Letters of intent are due January 18, 2005, and applications are due February 18, 2005. Select to read the RFA.

7.  CAHPS® User Group Meeting Scheduled for December 2-3

AHRQ and CMS are sponsoring a 2-day conference to be held December 2-3 at the Marriott Waterfront in Baltimore. The conference, "CAHPS® Across the Health Care Continuum: The 9th National User Group Meeting," will give participants the opportunity to learn from and network with the CAHPS® consortium and other CAHPS® survey users.

8.  Call for Abstracts Issued for AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting—Deadline January 14

You are invited to submit abstracts for the 2005 AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting to be held June 26-28, at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. The deadline for submissions is January 14, 2005. Select to access the AcademyHealth Web site for details.

9.  New Evidence Report on Youth Violence and Health-Risking Social Behaviors Available

AHRQ released a new evidence report on youth violence and health-risking social behaviors. With funding from NIH's National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), researchers examined the published literature and found that males are significantly more likely than females to perpetuate youth violence, and that low socioeconomic status is not an independent risk factor associated with youth violence. The report, Preventing Violence and Related Health-Risking Social Behaviors in Adolescents, was prepared by AHRQ's Southern California Evidence-based Practice Center. The report was commissioned for a Consensus Development Conference convened in June by the Office of Medical Applications of Research and the NIMH. Select to read the summary. A print copy of the summary and the full report are available by sending an E-mail to

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

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

  • Potentially inappropriate drugs are commonly prescribed for elderly outpatients.

In 1999, one in five elderly individuals filled a prescription for a drug that in general should be avoided in patients aged 65 and older. In addition, nearly half of these prescriptions were for drugs that carry a substantial risk of adverse effects in elderly patients.

Other articles are:

  • Higher volume in trauma centers does not necessarily correlate with improved survival of trauma victims.
  • Participants in a community-based mind-body training program report moderate improvements in quality of life after 3 months.
  • Cognitive testing can indicate when patients with Alzheimer's disease may lose the ability to make medical decisions.

Select to read these articles and others.

11.  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.

Stafford RS, Drieling RL, Hersh AL. National trends in osteoporosis visits and osteoporosis treatment, 1988-2003. Arch Intern Med 2004 Jul 26;164(4):1525-30. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Needham DM, Bronskill SE, Sibbald WJ, et al. Mechanical ventilation in Ontario, 1992-2000: incidence, survival, and hospital bed utilization of noncardiac surgery adult patients. Crit Care Med 2004 Jul;32(7):1504-9. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Kuo YF, Raji MA, Peek MK, et al. Health-related social disengagement in elderly diabetic patients: association with subsequent disability and survival. Diabetes Care 2004 Jul;27(7):1630-7. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Clarke PS. Causal analysis of individual change using the difference score. Epidemiology 2004 Jul;15(4):414-21. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Poston WS, Haddock CK, Conard M, et al. Impact of obesity on disease-specific health status after percutaneous coronary intervention in coronary disease patients. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 2004 Aug;28(8):1011-17. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Contact Information

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Current as of November 2004


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