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September 30, 2005, Issue #180

AHRQ News and Numbers

Hospital admissions for stroke declined 12 percent between 1997 and 2002—from 638,000 admissions to 564,000 admissions. Stroke fell from being the 7th most common reason for hospitalization in 1997 to the 15th most common reason in 2002. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, HCUP Factbook #6: Hospitalization in the United States, 2002.]

Today's Headlines:

  1. AHRQ launches new "Effective Health Care Program" to compare medical treatments and help put proven treatments into practice
  2. New AHRQ publication on Development of Models for Emergency Preparedness available
  3. New AHRQ tool for classifying mental health and substance abuse diagnoses is now available
  4. Call for nominations of topics for AHRQ Evidence-based Practice Centers
  5. New evidence report on Diagnosis, Prognosis, and Therapy of Impaired Glucose Tolerance and Impaired Fasting Glucose available
  6. Second Annual Interdisciplinary Women's Health Research Symposium
  7. Fifth Annual Forum for Improving Children's Health Care
  8. Visit AHRQ's National Patient Safety Network Web site
  9. AHRQ in the professional literature

1.  AHRQ Launches New "Effective Health Care Program" to Compare Medical Treatments and Help Put Proven Treatments into Practice

AHRQ launched its new Effective Health Care Program to help clinicians and patients determine which drugs and other medical treatments work best for certain health conditions. Thirteen new research centers, as well as an innovative center for communicating findings, were named as part of the three-part program. The $15 million program will support the development of new scientific information through research on the outcomes of health care services and therapies, including drugs. By reviewing and synthesizing published and unpublished scientific studies, as well as identifying important issues where existing evidence is insufficient, the program will help provide clinicians and patients with better information for making treatment decisions. Initial reports from the new program will be issued this fall, with particular focus on effectiveness information relevant to Medicare beneficiaries. Select to read our press release and visit the Effective Health Care Web site for more information about the program.

2.  New AHRQ Publication on Development of Models for Emergency Preparedness Available

In the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, AHRQ recently released a report titled Development of Models for Emergency Preparedness to help field- and facility-based health care professionals plan for and respond to bioterrorism events or public health emergencies. The evidence-based, best-practice models in this report provide guidance on personal protective equipment, decontamination, isolation/quarantine, and laboratory capacity. Select to download this report. AHRQ has funded a number of emergency preparedness-related tools and resources to help hospitals and health care systems prepare for medical emergencies. More information about these products can be found on our Web site.

3.  New AHRQ Tool for Classifying Mental Health and Substance Abuse Diagnoses Is Now Available

AHRQ announced the availability of a new tool from the Agency's Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) for researchers working in the fields of mental health and substance abuse. The tool, Clinical Classification Software for Mental Health and Substance Abuse (CCS-MHSA), assigns variables that identify mental health and substance abuse-related diagnoses in hospital discharge records using the diagnosis coding of ICD-9-CM (International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Edition, Clinical Modification). CCS-MHSA can be used with any data that include ICD-09-CM diagnosis information and can be adapted to work with various software packages. CCS-MHSA can be used independently for studies focusing solely on mental health and/or substance abuse conditions or used in conjunction with the original software, Clinical Classifications Software (CCS). This original software provides a method of classifying diagnoses or procedures into clinically meaningful categories to facilitate aggregate statistical reporting. Like all HCUP tools and software, the CCS-MHSA is free and can be downloaded from the tools and software section of the HCUP Web site.

4.  Call for Nominations of Topics for AHRQ Evidence-based Practice Centers

AHRQ is soliciting topic nominations for evidence reports and technology assessments to be prepared by its Evidence-based Practice Centers program relating to the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and management of common diseases and clinical conditions, as well as topics relating to the organization and financing of health care. Topic nominations should be submitted by December 1, 2005, in order to be considered for fiscal year 2006. Select to read the September 21 Federal Register notice.

5.  New Evidence Report on Diagnosis, Prognosis, and Therapy of Impaired Glucose Tolerance and Impaired Fasting Glucose Available

AHRQ released a new evidence report on Diagnosis, Prognosis, and Therapy of Impaired Glucose Tolerance and Impaired Fasting Glucose. Impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) and impaired fasting glucose (IFG) are the intermediate metabolic states between normal and diabetic glucose homeostasis and may be precursors to diabetes. The evidence review shows that the ability to categorize patients definitively for both IGT and IFG is poor, particularly on the basis of a single measurement. However, both IGT and IFT are strong risk factors for diabetes and also may be risk factors for future cardiovascular disease. Evidence does suggest that combined diet and exercise, and perhaps drug therapy, may be effective in preventing the progression from IGT to diabetes. IGT is becoming more common among overweight children, but much more research is needed on diagnosis, prognosis, and management of the condition in children. This evidence report was requested by the American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine, with additional interest from the American Academy of Family Physicians and American Academy of Pediatrics. The report was prepared by AHRQ's McMaster Evidence-based Practice Center. Select to read the summary. A print copy of the summary and full report is available by sending an E-mail to

6.  Second Annual Interdisciplinary Women's Health Research Symposium

NIH's Office of Research on Women's Health and AHRQ are sponsoring the Second Annual Interdisciplinary Women's Health Research Symposium on October 20, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., in the auditorium of the Lister Hill Center, Building 38A, on the NIH Campus in Bethesda. The registration deadline is October 7. Onsite registration will be available; however, space is limited, and early registration is encouraged.

7.  Fifth Annual Forum for Improving Children's Health Care

The National Initiative for Children's Healthcare Quality (NICHQ) and AHRQ are sponsoring the 5th Annual Forum for Improving Children's Health Care March 16-18, 2006, at the Royal Pacific Resort in Orlando, FL. The NICHQ Forum is the only conference dedicated to improving the quality of health care for children and their families. NICHQ is accepting proposals to present at the Forum's Scientific and Storyboard Sessions. Abstracts are due by November 1.

8.  Visit AHRQ's National Patient Safety Network Web Site

AHRQ's national Web site—AHRQ Patient Safety Network—is a valuable gateway of resources for improving patient safety and preventing medical errors. It is the first comprehensive effort to help health care providers, administrators, and consumers learn about all aspects of patient safety. The Web site includes summaries on tools and findings related to patient safety research; information on upcoming meetings and conferences; links to articles, books, and reports; and a listing of annotated bibliographies. Physicians, nurses, hospital administrators, and others can customize the site around their unique interests and needs through the Web site's unique "My PSNet" feature.

9.  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.

Steele AW, Eisert S, Witter J. The effect of automated alerts on provider ordering behavior in an outpatient setting. PLoS Med 2005 Sep; 2(9):e255. Select to read the abstract on PubMed®.

Lasser KE, Mintzer IL, Lambert A, et al. Missed appointment rates in primary care: the importance of site of care. J Health Care Poor Underserved 2005 Aug; 16(3):475-86. Select to read the abstract on PubMed®.

Harris KM, Edlund MJ, Larson S. Racial and ethnic differences in the mental health problems and use of mental health care. Med Care 2005 Aug; 43(8):775-84. Select to read the abstract on PubMed®.

McCloskey LA, Lichter E, Ganz ML, et al. Intimate partner violence and patient screening across medical specialities. Acad Emerg Med 2005 Aug; 12(8):712-22. Select to read the abstract on PubMed®.

Young GJ, White B, Burgess JF, et al. Conceptual issues in the design and implementation of pay-for-quality programs. Am J Med Qual 2005 May-Jun; 20(3):144-50. Select to read the abstract on PubMed®.

Contact Information

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Current as of September 2005


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