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December 12, 2005, Issue #185

AHRQ News and Numbers

The number of hospital admissions for HIV infection in the United States declined from a high of 149,000 in 1995—just before approval of life-prolonging protease inhibitor drugs known as the "AIDS cocktail"—to 70,000 admissions in 2003. During the same period, the percentage of patients with AIDS who died in the hospital dropped by 32 percent—from a death rate of 12.5 percent in 1995 to 8.5 percent in 2003. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, HCUP, Nationwide Inpatient Sample, HCUPnet.]

Today's Headlines:

  1. AHRQ launches project to develop guide for patient registries
  2. New AHRQ video on decontamination of children exposed to hazardous chemicals is available
  3. HHS Secretary appoints new members to AHRQ National Advisory Council
  4. Special audio report discusses personal and electronic health records
  5. New video from AHRQ on Next Steps After a Diagnosis
  6. HHS seeking input on research priorities for the Effective Health Care program
  7. Latest issue of AHRQ WebM&M is available online
  8. Register now for AHRQ's Pediatric Preparedness Web conference
  9. AHRQ in the professional literature

1.  AHRQ Launches Project to Develop Guide for Patient Registries

AHRQ announced that it is developing a "how-to" reference guide to help health care organizations in creating patient registries to track the outcomes of medical treatments, including drugs. The guide will help both the government and private-sector entities in designing and operating successful registries. It will also provide criteria for evaluating registries and the quality of their data, and guidance on how registry data can be used to conduct valid scientific research. In some instances of such "coverage with evidence development," Medicare collaborates with health professional organizations and other stakeholders to provide expanded coverage for a medical intervention. The reference guide on patient registries is to be completed by the end of 2006 and will reside on both the AHRQ and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Web sites. It is being developed as part of AHRQ's new Effective Health Care program. Select to read the AHRQ press release and select for more information on the Effective Health Care program.

2.  New AHRQ Video on Decontamination of Children Exposed to Hazardous Chemicals Is Available

AHRQ released The Decontamination of Children: Preparedness and Response for Hospital Emergency Departments, a 27-minute video that trains emergency responders and hospital emergency department staff to decontaminate children who have been exposed to hazardous chemicals during a bioterrorist attack or other disaster. This program provides a step-by-step demonstration of the decontamination process in real time and trains clinicians about the nuances of treating infants and children, who require special attention during decontamination procedures. A short clip from this video can be found online. A free, single copy of the video—available in DVD or VHS format—may be obtained by sending an E-mail to Select to read our press release.

3.  HHS Secretary Appoints New Members to AHRQ National Advisory Council

HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt announced the appointment of five new members to serve on the AHRQ National Advisory Council. In addition, the terms of two current members were extended. The new members are Dale W. Bratzler, D.O., M.P.H., Principal Clinical Coordinator, Oklahoma Foundation for Medical Quality, Inc., Oklahoma City, OK; Patricia Flatley Brennan, R.N., Ph.D., Moehlman Professor of Nursing and Industrial Engineering, University Wisconsin-Madison, WI; Ada Sue Hinshaw, Ph.D., R.N., Dean and Professor of Nursing, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI; Carlos Roberto Jaen, M.D., Ph.D., Professor and Chairman, Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, TX; and Munr Kazmir, M.D., Founder and CEO of Direct Meds, Inc., Leonia, NJ. Extended were the terms of Brent C. James, M.D., Vice President of Medical Research and Executive Director, Institute for Health Care Delivery Research, Intermountain Health Care, Salt Lake City, UT, and The Honorable Newt Gingrich, Ph.D. Senior Fellow, American Enterprise Institute, Washington, DC. Select to read our press release.

4.  Special Audio Report Discusses Personal and Electronic Health Records

AHRQ has released a two-part Newscast Special Report with AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D., discussing personal and electronic health records. In the first part, released November 22, Dr. Clancy explains what personal health records include, how they differ from electronic health records, and how those records can help you in an emergency. In the second part, released November 29, she discusses the technology and how electronic health records can, and will, impact the quality of our health care. Select to listen to Part 1 and Part 2 of this audio newscast. You can hear them from your computer's speakers, or you can download them to any portable digital player.

5.  New Video from AHRQ on Next Steps After a Diagnosis

AHRQ just released a short Web video called Next Steps After a Diagnosis, which features information from the recently released AHRQ publication of the same name to help patients who have been diagnosed with an illness to learn more about their condition and treatment options. It aims to help patients not only find information and resources but also deal with the various physical and emotional aspects of a diagnosis. The video provides individuals with important questions they should ask their doctor when they receive a diagnosis and information to help them understand their disease or condition, how it might be treated, and what they need to know before making treatment decisions. The video is being distributed to over 4,500 Web sites in the Healthology® network, including those for ABC News, Chicago Sun-Times, iVillage®, the American Diabetes Association, and many others. The video features AHRQ's Director, Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D.; Gregg S. Meyer, M.D., Medical Director, Massachusetts General Physicians' Organization; and Robert Muscalus, D.O., Medical Director for Clinical Client Relationships, Highmark Blue Shield, PA.

6.  HHS Seeking Input on Research Priorities for the Effective Health Care Program

Save the Date! HHS will host a listening session on January 11 to solicit input on research priorities for the Effective Health Care Program. Initial work in the program originates from Medicare reform legislation signed by President Bush in December 2003. Section 1013 of the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 authorizes research, demonstrations, and evaluations to improve the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of the federally administered Medicare program and two programs for which funding and administration is shared with the States: Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program. The listening session will be held on January 11 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in Holman Lounge (13th Floor) at the National Press Club, 529 14th Street NW (Metro Center metro station). A call-in line will be established for anyone not able to attend the meeting in person. The complete agenda and call-in information is forthcoming and will be posted at Effective Health Care.

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

The December issue of the AHRQ WebM&M online patient safety journal marks its 25th edition and is now available. This month's Perspectives on Safety section explores legal aspects of patient safety and includes an interview with Troyen Brennan, M.D., J.D., M.P.H., of Harvard University and a perspective by Paul Barach, M.D., M.P.H., of the University of Miami regarding the impact of Florida's recent patient safety legislation. In this month's Spotlight Case, a medical student notices a urinary catheter is inserted into a child in an unsterile manner but says nothing until a few days later on rounds, when the patient shows signs of infection. A second case deals with clinicians who did not notice that a patient was blind and discharged him with written instructions on how to administer his medications. In the third case, a resident in the middle of delivering an infant turns away for a moment, during which the mother adjusts herself and the infant drops headfirst onto the floor. Commentary authors are Robert Wachter, M.D., of the University of California, San Francisco; Lisa Iezzoni, M.D., M.Sc., of Harvard University; and Louis Halamek, M.D., of Stanford University. 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. Please submit cases to AHRQ WebM&M via the "Submit Case" button. All previously published commentaries are available under "Case Archive."

8.  Register Now for AHRQ's Pediatric Preparedness Web Conference

On January 11, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. (EST), AHRQ will sponsor a Web conference that will focus on strategies, tools, and key preparedness planning issues for the care of children during a public health emergency. A panel of national experts will examine lessons learned regarding care and support for children following Hurricane Katrina; discuss and show clips from a training video on establishing decontamination centers for children exposed to chemical agents; report on pediatric needs from the December 13-15 national conference, Special Considerations in Emergency Preparedness; preview the Pediatric Terrorism Preparedness Resource, a guide that will serve as a comprehensive clinical and policy reference on the needs of children following a public health emergency or other disaster; and highlight updates to the Pediatric Disaster and Terrorism Preparedness National Guidelines that address vulnerabilities of children to public health emergencies and disasters. Select to view AHRQ's emergency preparedness tools and resources.

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.

Tabbarah M, Zimmerman RK, Nowalk MP, et al. What predicts influenza vaccination status in older Americans over several years? J Am Geriatr Soc 2005 Aug;53(8):1354-9. Select to read the abstract in PubMed®.

Zaoutis TE, Coffin SE, Chu JH, et al. Risk factors for mortality in children with candidemia. Pediatr Infect Dis J 2005 Aug;24(8):736-9. Select to read the abstract in PubMed®.

Weingart SN, Pagovich O, Sands DZ, et al. What can hospitalized patients tell us about adverse events? Learning from patient-reported incidents. J Gen Intern Med 2005 Sep;20(9):830-6. Select to read the abstract in PubMed®.

Margolis DJ, Bowe WP, Hoffstad O, et al. Antibiotic treatment of acne may be associated with upper respiratory tract infections. Arch Dermatol 2005 Sep;141(9):1132-6. Select to read the abstract in PubMed®.

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Current as of December 2005


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