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June 24, 2005, Issue No. 171

AHRQ News and Numbers

The most frequent cause of death in the hospital among Americans 44 years and younger is traumatic brain injury. More than 5,500 people in this age range died from traumatic brain injury in 2002. Most of these brain injuries were related to falls and motor vehicle accidents. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, HCUPnet.]

Today's Headlines:

  1. AHRQ announces first phase of reviews under its new research program on the effectiveness of health care interventions
  2. AHRQ solicits contracts for new DEcIDE research network
  3. AHRQ releases the Guide to Clinical Preventive Services 2005: Recommendations of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force
  4. AHRQ annual conference draws hundreds of grantees and stakeholders
  5. AHRQ director testifies before Congress on patient safety activities
  6. AHRQ awards more than $8 million to further implementation of evidence-based patient safety findings
  7. Study finds mixed attitudes about watchful waiting for childhood ear infections
  8. Latest issue of AHRQ WebM&M is available online
  9. AHRQ announces small grant program for conference support
  10. Translating Research Into Practice conference set for July 18-20
  11. NQMC: What are we doing right? What could we do better?
  12. AHRQ in the professional literature

1.  AHRQ Announces First Phase of Reviews Under Its New Research Program on the Effectiveness of Health Care Interventions

AHRQ announced the first phase of research reviews that will be performed under its new Effective Health Care Program. The program will largely include work funded under Section 1013 of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003. The essential goals of the Section 1013 mandate are to develop evidence on the comparative effectiveness of different treatments and appropriate clinical approaches to difficult health problems. To achieve these goals, AHRQ will support projects to review, synthesize and translate published and unpublished scientific evidence as well as identify important issues for which existing scientific evidence is insufficient to inform decisions about health care. This evidence will be made readily available to all health care decisionmakers in a wide range of formats. Select to read our press release and to see the list of topics.

2.  AHRQ Solicits Contracts for New DEcIDE Research Network

AHRQ on June 21 announced that the Agency is soliciting contracts for the "Developing Evidence to Inform Decisions about Effectiveness" (DEcIDE) network. AHRQ's goal is to establish a collaborative research and practice-based network program that will assist AHRQ and other Federal agencies with implementation of Section 1013 of the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003. The DEcIDE network will provide a variety of services and products to support the development of new scientific knowledge through research on the outcomes of health care items and services, including pharmaceuticals and other therapies. A cost-reimbursement, multiple-award, task order-type contract is contemplated for a period of 2 years with 3 1-year options. The deadline for proposals is July 21. Select to read the contract solicitation. Select to access the information about Section 1013 of the Medicare law. (PDF File, 22 KB; PDF Help).

3.  AHRQ Releases the Guide to Clinical Preventive Services 2005: Recommendations of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force

AHRQ released the Guide to Clinical Preventive Services 2005, which highlights current recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. These evidence-based recommendations for clinicians address preventive services, which include screening tests, counseling, and preventive medications for adults and children in the primary care setting. The guide contains recommendations that have been adapted for a pocket-size book, making it easier for clinicians to consult the recommendations in their daily practice. Recommendations are presented in an indexed, easy-to-use format, with at-a-glance charts. Recommendation statements and supporting statements from the Task Force are available on the AHRQ Web site. Select to read our press release and to download a copy of the guide. A print copy of the guide is available by sending an E-mail to

4.  AHRQ Annual Conference Draws Hundreds of Grantees and Stakeholders

More than 700 AHRQ patient safety and health IT grantees, policymakers, and other stakeholders attended the Agency's annual conference in Washington, DC, June 6-10, and heard from a wide range of distinguished experts during plenary sessions on June 8. Select to access the video of the day's presentations and select to read the full text of Dr. Clancy's speech, "Quality Is the Goal for Patient Safety and Health IT."

5.  AHRQ Director Testifies Before Congress on Patient Safety Activities

AHRQ's patient safety research projects "have emphasized the development of skills to undertake patient safety improvement, development of practical tools to facilitate the use of what is now known, and working in voluntary partnership with public- and private-sector groups to actually implement that knowledge," AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D., told the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee on June 9. Dr. Clancy discussed the significant progress AHRQ has made to improve patient safety and decrease medical errors through the more than 225 patient safety and related health IT projects it has supported since 2001. Select to read Dr. Clancy's complete testimony.

6.  AHRQ Awards More Than $8 Million to Further Implementation of Evidence-Based Patient Safety Findings

AHRQ announced that it will award over $8 million in funding over 2 years for 15 projects that are designed to help clinicians, facilities, and patients implement evidence-based patient safety practices. The 15 Partnerships in Implementing Patient Safety (PIPS) grants will use interventions that are ready to be implemented now and will have both an immediate and a long-term impact. Over half the projects focus on reducing medication errors, an area known to be in need of patient safety solutions. Many of the projects will apply interventions to improve health care team communications, also a well-known source of errors. Select to read our press release and the complete listing of the 15 PIPS projects.

7.  Study Finds Mixed Attitudes About Watchful Waiting for Childhood Ear Infections

In March 2004, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), concerned about antibiotic overuse and resistance, encouraged careful diagnosis of acute otitis media (a common childhood ear infection) and endorsed, as an option, initial observation for children older than 2 with mild ear pain and no high fever. Before issuance of the AAP guidelines, a survey found that only one-third of parents were initially receptive to the observation option. However, parents with more education, with more knowledge about antibiotics, and those who felt included in medical decisions were more likely to be receptive. The study, "Watchful Waiting for Acute Otitis Media: Are Parents and Physicians Ready?" was published in the June 6 issue of Pediatrics. Select to read the abstract on PubMed®.

8.  Latest Issue of AHRQ WebM&M Is Available Online

The latest issue of the AHRQ WebM&M online patient safety journal is now available. The new Perspectives on Safety section highlights research in patient safety and gives practical tips on how to interpret the safety literature. The June cases include one of an AIDS patient prescribed a combination medicine—including a drug she was already taking—who narrowly misses being harmed by a double dose; and one of a woman who undergoes surgery, immediately has blurry vision, and 2 weeks later returns complaining of blindness in one eye. The June Spotlight Case uses an example of a dosing error to describe best practices in root cause analysis. As always, the Spotlight case includes a downloadable set of slides. By completing the Spotlight quiz, physicians can receive CME credit, nurses can obtain CEUs, and trainees can receive certification in patient safety. Cases and CME/CE from previous issues are still available under "Archives" and "Past Issues" on the site. Please continue to submit cases to AHRQ WebM&M. And explore the site—all previously published commentaries are also available under "Case Archive."

9.  AHRQ Announces Small Grant Program for Conference Support

AHRQ announced its continued interest in supporting conferences through its Small Conference Grant Program. AHRQ small conference grants are those with direct costs of $50,000 or less over the project period. This program is intended to complement and promote AHRQ's core research by providing a mechanism for Agency stakeholders and others to (1) develop health services research agendas and identify strategies and mechanisms for studying them; (2) discuss and develop consensus around health services research methodological and technical issues; (3) disseminate health services research information for formulating or evaluating health policy, managing health care programs, and using or purchasing health services; and (4) develop partnerships with stakeholder organizations and build their capacity to participate in research activities and use the results of health services research. Application receipt dates are on August 20, October 20, December 20, February 20, April 20, June 20 annually (beginning August 20, 2005 and ending June 20, 2008). Select to read the program announcement.

10.  Translating Research Into Practice Conference Set for July 18-20

AHRQ is sponsoring its Translating Research Into Practice (TRIP) conference, to be held on July 18-20 in Washington, DC. The conference will feature two outstanding speakers who will focus on obesity and health disparities. Peter Bach, M.D., Senior Adviser, CMS, will give the keynote speech on July 18 to address current national policy initiatives for reducing health disparities. Dr. Bach has conducted research on racial disparities in the treatment and outcome of lung cancer patients as well as on the relationship between hospital volume and survival for lung-cancer surgery. He also has participated in evidence-based guideline development for the care of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Dean Ornish, M.D., President of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute, internationally recognized for his groundbreaking work on the effects of diet and lifestyle on health, will give the keynote speech on July 19 regarding converting research findings into comprehensive lifestyle change to reverse obesity, heart disease, and other conditions without drugs or surgery.

11.  NQMC: What Are We Doing Right? What Could We Do Better?

Ever wish the National Quality Measures Clearinghouse™ (NQMC) did something different? Take NQMC's Second Annual Customer Satisfaction Survey now online and let us know! We value your input and need it to guide our improvements. After completing the survey, you will see a listing of NQMC's most frequently accessed measure summaries. Which summaries (measures) do users view the most? Take the survey now and you'll find out!

12.  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.

Moore DE, Feurer ID, Speroff T, et al. Impact of donor, technical, and recipient risk factors on survival and quality of life after liver transplantation. Arch Surg 2005 Mar;140(3):273-7. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Rhoades DA. Racial misclassification and disparities in cardiovascular disease among American Indians and Alaska Natives. Circulation 2005 Mar 15;111(10):1250-6. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Riddle DL, Hoppener MR, Kraaijenhagen RA, et al. Preliminary validation of clinical assessment for deep vein thrombosis in orthopaedic outpatients. Clin Orthop Relat Res 2005 Mar;(432):252-7. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Ku L, Flores G. Pay now or pay later: providing interpreter services in health care. Health Aff 2005 Mar-Apr;24(2);435-44. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Napoles-Springer AM, Santoyo J, Houston K, et al. Patients' perceptions of cultural factors affecting the quality of their medical encounters. Health Expect 2005 Mar;8(1):4-17. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Contact Information

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Current as of June 2005


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