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February 15, 2001, Issue No. 22

AHRQ News and Numbers

Today's Headlines:

  1. Another new patient safety RFA
  2. Fiscal year 2001 appropriations
  3. AHRQ, CDC, and AAHP 2001 Building Bridges Conference
  4. Article in Health Management Technology
  5. AHRQ-funded study on preventable illness and out-of-area travel
  6. NASHP report on medical errors reporting available
  7. Evidence report on telemedicine for the Medicare population
  8. Guidelines added to the National Guideline Clearinghouse™ (NGC)
  9. AHRQ in the professional literature
  10. Highlights from the most recent edition of our monthly newsletter
  11. Factoid

1.  Another New Patient Safety RFA

AHRQ issued a press release on February 2 announcing the third in a series of Requests for Applications (RFAs) under the Agency's patient safety and medical errors research program. This RFA, by far the largest of the series, is expected to result in awards totaling up to $25 million annually in fiscal years 2001. It will fund up to 13 cooperative agreements to sponsor demonstration projects that will assess the effectiveness of various methods of collecting and using information to reduce medical errors and their impact. Select to access the AHRQ Press Release and the RFA.

In addition, a special technical assistance workshop for interested applicants is scheduled for March 16 at AHRQ's offices in Rockville, MD. Call Lisa Krever at (301) 427-1306 or E-mail her at for details. Future patient safety RFAs will focus on research related to the use of informatics to promote patient safety, the effect of working conditions on patient safety, and patient safety research dissemination and education.

2.  Fiscal Year 2001 Appropriations

In FY 2001, AHRQ received an appropriation of $269,943,000, an increase of $66,144,000 (32.5 percent) over the Agency's FY 2000 appropriation. The appropriation fully funds research grant and contract commitments to improve the quality of health care, reduce its cost, enhance patient safety and broaden access to essential services.

3.  AHRQ, CDC, and AAHP 2001 Building Bridges Conference

AHRQ is holding a joint conference with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Association of Health Plans (AAHP) on April 26-27 in Seattle. The conference, Assessing Policy Decisions and Their Impact on Health Care Delivery, will feature presentations on performance measurement, state/federal mandates, children's health care, primary care, and chronic care.

4.  Article in Health Management Technology

The February issue of Health Management Technology, features an article by Helen Burstin, M.D., M.P.H., director of AHRQ's Center for Primary Care Research, on the Internet as a Web-based resource for shared decisionmaking about treatments and interventions.

5.  AHRQ-Funded Study on Preventable Illness and Out-of-Area Travel

An article from an AHRQ-funded study found a strong association between types of health insurance and availability of primary care services with episodes of hospitalization of children outside their areas of residence. Children covered by Medicaid or HMOs or whose care was self-paid were less likely to be hospitalized away from home areas. Ethnic and racial differences were significant factors influencing use of out-of-area hospitals. The article, "Preventable Illness and Out-of-Area Travel of Children in New York Counties," by AHRQ researchers Joy Basu and Barry Friedman, was published in the January issue of Health Economics. Reprints are available from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse, 1-800-358-9295.

6.  NASHP Report on Medical Errors Reporting Available

Current State Programs Addressing Medical Errors: An Analysis of Mandatory Reporting and Other Initiatives, developed by the National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) and supported in part by AHRQ, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Commonwealth Fund, is now available for purchase. The report details how eight states with mandatory reporting requirements for hospital incidents administer, oversee, and enforce their requirements. The cost is $20 for government and nonprofit organizations and $35 for all others.

7.  Evidence Report on Telemedicine for the Medicare Population

AHRQ has just released the summary of an evidence report developed by the Oregon Health Sciences University Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC). The EPC found that the use of telemedicine is small but growing. Findings show that telemedicine is clinically and economically viable, but many programs fail to survive long. Poor methodology of studies on the efficacy of telemedicine precluded EPC from drawing conclusions. Select to access the summary. Print copies of the summary are available from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse, 1-800-358-9295. Copies of the full report will be available later this year.

8.  Guidelines Added to the National Guideline Clearinghouse™ (NGC)

During the month of January, 18 guidelines were added to the NGC. There are now 944 guideline summaries in the NGC. Select to access these guidelines and others.

  • Management of minor closed head injury in children.
  • Diagnosis and evaluation of the child with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
  • Acute chest pain—suspected aortic dissection.
  • Use of hematopoietic colony-stimulating factors.
  • Colorectal cancer surveillance.
  • Music therapy programming for individuals with Alzheimer's disease and related disorders.
  • Early detection of developmental dysplasia of the hip.
  • Prevention and management of pain and stress in the neonate.
  • Use of inhaled nitric oxide.
  • Asthma treatment.
  • Lipid screening in adults and children.
  • Thrombolytic therapy in acute ischemic stroke.
  • Use of colony stimulating factors in patients receiving chemotherapy.
  • The use of light therapy in the treatment of sleep disorders.
  • The treatment of restless legs syndrome and periodic limb movement disorder.
  • The nonpharmacologic treatment of chronic insomnia.
  • The evaluation of chronic insomnia.
  • Prevention and control of influenza.

9.  AHRQ in the Professional Literature

Adams AS, Soumerai SB, Ross-Degnan D. Use of antihypertensive drugs by Medicare enrollees: Does type of drug coverage matter? Health Aff 2001 Jan-Feb; 20(1):276-86.

Coppola KM, Ditto PH, Danks JH, et al. Accuracy of primary care and hospital-based physicians' predictions of elderly outpatients' treatment preferences with and without advance directives. Arch Intern Med 2001 Feb 12; 161(3):431-40.

Ditto PH, Danks JH, Smucker WD, et al. Advance directives as acts of communication: A randomized controlled trial. Arch Intern Med 2001 Feb 12; 161(3):421-30.

Newacheck PW, Lieu T, Kalkbrenner AE, et al. A comparison of health care experiences for Medicaid and commercially enrolled children in a large, nonprofit health maintenance organization. Ambul Pediatr 2001 Jan-Feb; 1(1):28-35.

Rollman RL, Hanusa BH, Gilbert T, et al. The electronic medical record. Arch Intern Med 2001 Jan 22; 161(2):189-97.

Schone BS, Cooper PF. Assessing the impact of health plan choice. Health Aff 2001 Jan-Feb; 20(1):267-75.

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

The new issue of Research Activities is in the mail. The key articles are:

  1. No one clinical factor can identify which cystic fibrosis patients more urgently need lung transplants.
  2. Vitamin A deficiency may contribute to the development of cervical cancer lesions in HIV-infected women.
  3. Screening for colorectal cancer every 5 years reduces mortality at costs similar to other cancer screening procedures.
  4. Primary care physicians can successfully use tympanometry to diagnose children's middle ear infections.
  5. AHRQ funds new research projects.

Select to access the January issue of Research Activities.

11.  Factoid

Forty-seven percent of Americans are "very concerned" about an error resulting in injury happening to them or a member of their family when receiving health care, compared with 32 percent who worry about their safety when flying on a commercial U.S. airplane and 30 percent who worry about becoming sick from food they buy at the supermarket. Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality/Kaiser Family Foundation National Survey on Americans as Health Care Consumers: An Update on the Role of Quality Information, December 2000.

Contact Information

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Current as of February 2001


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