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AHRQ Electronic Newsletter

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May 8, 2008, Issue No. 256

AHRQ News and Numbers

Hospitalizations for ischemic stroke fell 33 percent between 1997 and 2005. While 54 of every 10,000 Americans age 45 and older were hospitalized for ischemic stroke in 1997, the ratio dropped to 36 of every 10,000 Americans the same age in 2005. Hospitalizations for hemorrhagic stroke, caused by a ruptured blood vessel which leads to bleeding within the brain, meanwhile, remained relatively steady during the same period, ranging from nine to 11 for every 10,000 individuals age 45 and older.

[Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) HCUP Statistical Brief #51: Hospital Stays for Strokes and Other Cerebrovascular Diseases, 2005.]

Today's Headlines

  1. New evidence provides clinicians with better tools to help smokers quit
  2. Some type 1 diabetes education found effective
  3. AHRQ and RWJF release new resource for nurses
  4. New tools for designing, implementing, and evaluating care management programs
  5. Health IT Web conferences set for May 8 and May 15
  6. Register for AHRQ's Health Care Innovations Exchange Web conference set for May 12
  7. New AHRQ toolkit can help improve care for patients with chronic care conditions
  8. New evidence report on outcomes of maternal weight gain is now available
  9. AHRQ announces release of Comorbidity Software, Version 3.3
  10. AHRQ announces release of FY2008 Clinical Classifications Software updates
  11. AHRQ in the professional literature

1.  New Evidence Provides Clinicians with Better Tools to Help Smokers Quit

Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: 2008 Update was released by the U.S. Public Health Service. The updated guideline identifies new counseling and medication treatments that help people to quit smoking. The guideline and accompanying commentary appear in the May 7 issue of JAMA. The updated guideline was developed by a 24-member, private-sector panel of leading national tobacco treatment experts who reviewed over 8,700 research articles published between 1975 and 2007.

The 2008 PHS Guideline Update and its companion products, which include a consumer guide and a pocket guide for clinicians, are available online. A print copy of the 2008 PHS Guideline Update products is available by sending an E-mail to

Select to read our press release.

2.  Some Type 1 Diabetes Education Found Effective

A new AHRQ evidence review concludes that cognitive behavioral therapy, an intervention that helps patients take control of their illness, and general education about diabetes, may improve outcomes in children overall with type 1 diabetes. Conducted by the AHRQ's University of Alberta Evidence-Based Practice Center and nominated by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the review also concluded that cognitive behavior therapy appears promising for improving outcomes, such as better control of blood sugar levels, in children with recently diagnosed type 1 diabetes. However, there is no evidence that family therapy or diabetes camps help children. The authors found that skills training and family therapy may improve some specific diabetes outcomes in children, but the evidence is not strong for all.

Select to access the report. A print copy of Diabetes Education for Children with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus and Their Families is available by sending an E-mail to

3.  AHRQ and RWJF Release New Resource for Nurses

AHRQ and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation have jointly sponsored the development of a new patient safety resource for nurses. Patient Safety and Quality: An Evidence-Based Handbook for Nurses examines the broad range of issues involved in providing high quality and safe care across health care settings. This three-volume resource contains 89 contributions that represent the work of a broad range of nurses and other patient safety researchers throughout the nation.

Select to review the publication. A print copy of the publication or a CD-ROM is available by sending an E-mail to

4.  New Tools for Designing, Implementing, and Evaluating Care Management Programs

AHRQ has released a new package of tools to help plan, develop, implement, and evaluate disease or care management programs designed for decision makers operating Medicaid fee-for-service or primary care case management programs. Designing and Implementing Medicaid Care Management Programs: A User's Guide provides information and examples from 13 States on planning Medicaid fee-for-service care management programs; selecting and targeting populations; operating programs; and, designing strategies to monitor progress and measure program impact. Monitoring and Evaluating Medicaid Fee-for-Service Care Management Programs: A User's Guide provides details and examples of how to design a program evaluation that assesses the impact of care management initiatives. Patient Self-Management Support Programs: An Evaluation outlines key considerations for creating patient self management programs. A print copy is available by sending an E-mail to

5.  Health IT Web Conferences Set for May 8 and May 15

The AHRQ National Resource Center for Health Information Technology (Health IT) is sponsoring two free Health IT Web conferences this month. Practical Solutions for Engaging Consumers in the Design and Use of PHRs: Beyond User Centered Design, will be held May 8 from 1:30-3 p.m. ET and will provide an overview of Personal Health Records (PHRs), data integration strategies, and how PHRs can foster the patient-provider alliance. The Importance of Evaluation in Health IT Implementation: Practical Advice for Providers and Healthcare Organizations will be held May 15 from 1:30 p.m.-3 p.m. ET. This session will discuss the importance of evaluating health IT projects, including outcomes related to quality and patient safety, and describe the evaluation tools available on AHRQ's Health IT Web site. This event is intended for clinicians, clinical managers, health care executives, and others involved in the implementation of health IT systems, equipment, and applications.

6.  Register for AHRQ's Health Care Innovations Exchange Web Conference Set for May 12

Register today for AHRQ's Innovations Exchange Web conference, May 12, from 2-3:30 p.m. ET. Experts including AHRQ's Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D., will discuss Using AHRQ's Health Care Innovations Exchange to Take on the Challenges of Care Delivery. Get inspired and exchange ideas with innovators who have made significant advances in the delivery of health care. Gain insight on why attempts at innovation are valuable to the process of change toward quality improvement.

7.  New AHRQ Toolkit Can Help Improve Care for Patients with Chronic Care Conditions

AHRQ has released Toolkit for Implementing the Chronic Care Model in an Academic Environment to help improve care for patients who need chronic care. The toolkit presents a range of materials for implementing the Chronic Care Model in academic health care settings. Designed to transform the way chronic care is delivered, the Chronic Care Model creates a unique, multi-disciplinary team approach that empowers patients to become active participants in their own care. The lessons learned by the organizations involved in the Academic Chronic Care Collaborative provide a guide to others implementing the model. Select to access the toolkit.

8.  New Evidence Report on Outcomes of Maternal Weight Gain in Now Available

A new AHRQ evidence report, Outcomes of Maternal Weight Gain, finds that women who gain more or less than recommended amounts of weight during pregnancy are likely to increase the risk of problems for both themselves and their child. However, researchers concluded that the existing body of research is inadequate to permit objective assessments of the range of harms and benefits that would arise from providing all women—irrespective of age, race or ethnicity, or their body mass index before they became pregnant—with the same recommendations for weight gain in pregnancy.

Select to review an abstract of the report. A print copy is available by sending an E-mail to

9.  AHRQ Announces Release of Comorbidity Software, Version 3.3

AHRQ recently released Comorbidity Software, Version 3.3, for use with AHRQ's Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) databases or other health care administrative databases. The Comorbidity Software consists of two computer programs, Creation of Format Library for Comorbidity Groups that generates a format library that maps diagnosis codes into comorbidity indicators, and Creation of Comorbidity Variables that applies these formats to a data set containing administrative data.

The Software is valid for ICD-9-CM codes, DRGs, and v25 MS-DRGs effective October 1, 2007, and is available for download from the Tools & Software page on the HCUP-US Web site. The software is being distributed in ASCII for easy adaptation to other programming languages.

For more information, please visit the Comorbidity Software page, or contact the HCUP Central Distributor by E-mail at

10.  AHRQ Announces Release of FY2008 Clinical Classifications Software Updates

AHRQ recently released Fiscal Year 2008 updates for the Clinical Classifications Software (CCS) for Services and Procedures. These files can be used with AHRQ's Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) databases or other administrative health care databases. The CCS for Services and Procedures software provides a method for classifying Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes and Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) codes into clinically meaningful procedure categories. It contains the standard CCS procedure categories, with the addition of specific categories unique to the professional service and supply codes in CPT/HCPCS.

The CCS for Services and Procedures software is available for download from the Tools & Software page on the HCUP-US Web site.

For more information, please visit the CCS for Services and Procedures page, or contact the HCUP Central Distributor by E-mail at

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.

Andrulis DP, Brach C. Integrating literacy, culture, and language to improve health care quality for diverse populations. Am J Health Behav 2007 Sep-Oct; 31(S122-33). Select to read the abstract in PubMed®.

Metlay JP, Camargo CA Jr, MacKenzie T, et al. Cluster-randomized trial to improve antibiotic use for adults with acute respiratory infections treated in emergency departments. Ann Emerg Med 2007 Sep; 50(3):221-30. Select to read the abstract in PubMed®.

Ray WA, Chung CP, Stein CM, et al. Risk of peptic ulcer hospitalizations in users of NSAIDs with gastroprotective cotherapy versus coxibs. Gastroenterology 2007 Sep; 133(3):790-8. Select to read the abstract in PubMed®.

Clark LG, Upshur CC. Family medicine physicians' views of how to improve chronic pain management. J Am Bd Fam Med 2007 Sep-Oct; 20(5):479-82. Select to read the abstract in PubMed®.

Abo BN, Hostler D, Wang HE. Does the type of out-of-hospital airway interfere with other cardiopulmonary resuscitation tasks? Resuscitation 2007 Feb; 72(2):234-9. Select to read the abstract in PubMed®.

Contact Information

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Current as of May 2008


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