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June 23, 2008, Issue No.260

AHRQ News and Numbers

Hospitals are finding that increasing numbers of adults who are admitted to the hospital for other conditions also have asthma. From 2000-2005, the number of adults who were hospitalized and found to have asthma as a secondary condition increased from about 753,800 to 1,609,200—an increase of 113 percent. During the same period, hospitalizations specifically for treatment of asthma increased only 18 percent, rising from 247,200 to 290,600. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, HCUP Statistical Brief #54: Hospital Stays Related to Asthma for Adults, 2005.]

Today's Headlines

  1. New Spanish-language consumer guide compares oral diabetes medications
  2. Plain-language guides compare medications for treatment of osteoporosis are available
  3. AHRQ and ODPHP announce redesigned beta site
  4. NQF accepting nominations for AHRQ Common Format Expert Panel
  5. AHRQ director helps consumers navigate the health care system in a new advice column on the Web
  6. AHRQ HCUP 2006 Kids' Inpatient Database (KID) now available
  7. Do you know how AHRQ's research is being used?
  8. Calling all AHRQ researchers! "Help us to help you."
  9. AHRQ in the professional literature

1.  New Spanish-Language Consumer Guide Compares Oral Diabetes Medications

AHRQ released Pastillas para la diabetes tipo 2, a new consumer guide to help Hispanic adults who have type 2 diabetes compare various oral medications for their illness. The guide organizes comparative research results according to diabetes patients' concerns and questions, and assists them in using research results when talking with health care professionals about their diabetes medicines. Select to read our press release.

2.  Plain-Language Guides Compare Medications for Treatment of Osteoporosis Are Available

AHRQ released a new pair of plain-language guides to compare medications for the treatment of osteoporosis, including clinical benefits, risks, and cost estimates. Osteoporosis Treatments That Help Prevent Broken Bones, A Guide for Women After Menopause, and Fracture Prevention Treatments for Postmenopausal Women with Osteoporosis, a guide for clinicians. The consumer and clinician guides include basic facts about osteoporosis (also known as low bone density) and the medications commonly used in treatment. Among the medications analyzed are six bisphosphonates—Fosamax, Didronel, Boniva, Aredia, Actonel and Zometa—plus alternative treatments such as estrogen, calcitonin (a man made hormone), calcium, vitamin D, testosterone, parathyroid hormone, and selective estrogen receptors modules. Both guides include estimated monthly costs for the medications. The guides are the latest in a series of AHRQ publications that help clinicians and patients make the best possible treatment choices. Others guides produced by AHRQ compare treatments for diabetes, depression, gastroesophageal reflux disease, high blood pressure, narrowed kidney arteries and osteoarthritis. All guides will be available in Spanish. Select to access the guides.

3.  AHRQ and ODPHP Announce Redesigned Beta Site

AHRQ and the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion are working together to offer the newly redesigned site and would like user feedback. The site has been redesigned to provide even more news, tips, and tools to stay healthy and now features recommendations from the AHRQ-sponsored U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. The site includes these new and easy-to-use features:

  • The Quick Guide to Healthy Living—basic, easy-to-understand information on key prevention topics, including the benefits of taking recommended actions and tips on how to get started.
  • myhealthfinder—personalized health recommendations based on age and sex from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, supported by AHRQ.
  • Personal Health Tools—menu and activity planners, health calculators, online check-ups, and more.

Visit to provide your feedback on the new site while it is in beta. Select on the feedback icon.

4.  NQF Accepting Nominations for AHRQ Common Format Expert Panel

The National Quality Forum (NQF) is accepting nominations through July 14 for an expert panel that will assist with review and feedback on the AHRQ Common Formats. These Common Formats will be used by Patient Safety Organizations (PSO) as common definitions and reporting formats for data elements in patient safety event reporting. Health care experts who have a background in patient safety, patient safety taxonomy/event types and classification, patient safety data elements, data collection, and aggregation and/or patient health records including electronic formats are encouraged to self-nominate. Third-party nominations must indicate that the individual has been contacted and is willing to serve. The panel will convene this fall (September or October) following the release of the PSO Common Formats in August. For more information, visit the NQF Web site.

5.  AHRQ Director Helps Consumers Navigate the Health Care System in a New Advice Column on the Web

AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D., offers advice to consumers in new, brief, easy-to-understand columns. The biweekly columns will help consumers better navigate the health care system. Select to read Dr. Clancy's advice columns.

6.  AHRQ HCUP 2006 Kids' Inpatient Database (KID) Now Available

AHRQ's Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Kids' Inpatient Database (KID) featuring 2006 data was released this month. The KID, released every three years, is the only dataset on hospital use, outcomes, and charges designed to study children under age 21, regardless of payer—including patients covered by private insurance, Medicaid, and uninsured. The 2006 KID includes data from 3,739 hospitals in 38 States. The data can be weighted to produce national estimates, allowing researchers and policymakers to use the KID to identify, track, and analyze national trends in pediatric health care issues on utilization, access, charges, quality, and outcomes. Topics include:

  • Rare conditions, such as congenital anomalies.
  • Common conditions, such as asthma.
  • Economic burden of pediatric conditions, such as adolescent pregnancy.
  • Access to services.
  • Quality of care and patient safety.
  • Impact of health policy changes.

Earlier KIDs data exist for years 1997, 2000, and 2003. Select for additional information about the KID including how to purchase the data. Data from the 2006 KID can also be accessed via HCUPnet, the free online data query system.

7.  Do You Know How AHRQ's Research Is Being Used?

We are always looking for ways in which AHRQ-funded research, products, and tools have changed people's lives, influenced clinical practice, improved policies, and affected patient outcomes. These impact case studies describe AHRQ research findings in action and are used in testimony, budget documents, and speeches. If your AHRQ-funded research has had an impact on health care policy, clinical practice, or patient outcomes, we would like to know. Contact AHRQ's Impact Case Studies Program at or (301) 427-1243 with your impact stories.

8.  Calling All AHRQ Researchers! "Help Us to Help You."

As you may know, AHRQ can help you promote the findings of your research, but we can't do it without you. AHRQ has been successful in working with our grantees and contractors to promote findings to the media and to transfer knowledge based on the research to appropriate audiences in the health care community. However, we know that we can do better. We need you to notify us when you have an article accepted for publication. Please send a copy of the manuscript, anticipated publication date, and contact information for the journal and your institution's public relations office to your AHRQ project officer and to AHRQ Public Affairs at Your manuscript will be reviewed to determine what level of marketing we will pursue. Please be assured that AHRQ always honors the journal embargo. Thank you for your cooperation.

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.

Van der Steen JT, Mitchell SL, Frijters DH, et al. Prediction of 6-month mortality in nursing home residents with advanced dementia: validity of a risk store. J Am Med Dir Assoc 2007 Sep; 8(7):464-8. Select to access the abstract in PubMed®.

Fairbanks RJ, Bisantz AM, Sunm M. Emergency department communication links and patterns. Ann Emerg Med 2007 Oct; 50(4):396-406. Select to access the abstract in PubMed®.

Fanjiang G, van Glahn T, Chang H, et al. Providing patients Web-based data to inform physician choice; if you build it, will they come. J Gen Intern Med 2007 Oct; 22(10):1463-6. Select to access the abstract in PubMed®.

Nemeth LS, Wessell AM, Jenkins RG, et al. Strategies to accelerate translation of research into primary care within practices using electronic medical records. J Nurs Care Qual 2007 Oct-Dec; 22(4):343-9. Select to access the abstract in PubMed®.

Roberts LL, Ely JW, Ward MM. Factors contributing to maternal birth-related trauma. Am J Med Qual 2007 Sep-Oct; 22(5):334-43. Select to access the abstract in PubMed®.

Contact Information

Please address comments and questions regarding the AHRQ Electronic Newsletter to Nancy Comfort at or (301) 427-1866.

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Current as of June 2008


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