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May 24, 2001, Issue No. 28

AHRQ News and Numbers

Today's Headlines:

  1. FY 2002 AHRQ appropriations
  2. Hearing on medical errors and patient safety
  3. HCUP fact book on hospital procedures
  4. Article on variation in therapy and outcomes for pediatric head trauma patients
  5. Article in JAMA on beta-blocker use after acute myocardial infarction
  6. National Quality Measures Clearinghouse™
  7. AHRQ director receives award from Society of General Internal Medicine
  8. Child Health Services Researchers meeting
  9. Child health kit
  10. New AHRQ publications
  11. Highlights from the most recent edition of our monthly newsletter
  12. Guidelines added to the National Guideline Clearinghouse™
  13. AHRQ in the professional literature
  14. Factoid

1.  FY 2002 AHRQ Appropriations

AHRQ Director John M. Eisenberg, M.D., presented the Agency's fiscal year 2002 budget request of $306 million before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education on May 10. Select to read Dr. Eisenberg's testimony. For more details on AHRQ's FY 2002 budget request, select FY 2002 Congressional budget justification.

2.  Hearing on Medical Errors and Patient Safety

HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson testified at a hearing today before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee on reducing preventable medical errors and improving patient safety. Secretary Thompson's testimony focused on the Department's activities in this area, including the HHS Patient Safety Task Force. The testimony will be available online at a later date.

3.  HCUP Fact Book on Hospital Procedures

AHRQ released a new fact book entitled Procedures in U.S. Hospitals. This is the second in a series of fact books designed to provide a comprehensive picture of hospital care in the United States. This report provides facts and charts on topics such as the most common inpatient procedures performed in U.S. hospitals; the average number of procedures done per hospital stay; procedures associated with the longest hospital stays; procedures with highest in-hospital mortality; procedure charges billed to Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance; and procedures done in high-volume hospitals. The publication is based on 1997 data from AHRQ's Nationwide Inpatient Sample database. Select to access the report.

4.  Article on Variation in Therapy and Outcomes for Pediatric Head Trauma Patients

An AHRQ-funded study concluded that therapies and outcomes vary across pediatric intensive care units that care for children with head injuries and that increased use of seizure medication may be warranted. The article, "Variation in Therapy and Outcomes for Pediatric Head Trauma Patients" by John M. Tilford, Ph.D., was published in the May issue of Critical Care Medicine.

5.  Article in JAMA on Beta-Blocker Use after Acute Myocardial Infarction

AHRQ issued on May 22 a press release on a study that describes some successful strategies for increasing beta-blocker use in patients hospitalized for AMI. The article, "A Qualitative Study of Increasing Beta-Blocker Use After Acute Myocardial Infarction," by AHRQ grantee Elizabeth H. Bradley, Ph.D., et al., was published in the May 23 issue of JAMA. Select to access the AHRQ press release.

6.  National Quality Measures Clearinghouse™

AHRQ released on May 23 the first in what is anticipated to be a series of Request for Proposals (RFPs) to produce tools that will help translate evidence-based information on healthcare outcomes, quality, cost, use, and access into health care practice. AHRQ has set aside $8.4 million for this project and expects to award a single contract that will span 4 years. The project is the first step in the production of an integrated suite of Internet-based tools for health care providers, managers, and policymakers. The project will include developing a database backbone that will house the NQMC, which will be a significant enhancement of the Agency's CONQUEST library of quality measures, and ultimately the Agency's highly successful National Guideline Clearinghouse™ (NGC), developed in partnership with the American Medical Association and the American Association of Health Plans. Select to access the AHRQ press release.

7.  AHRQ Director Receives Award from Society of General Internal Medicine

AHRQ Director John M. Eisenberg, M.D., received the first "National Award for Career Achievement in Research" from the Society of General Internal Medicine (SGIM). This new award recognizes senior investigators whose innovative research has changed the way patients are cared for, the way research is conducted, or the way students are educated. The SGIM is an international organization of physicians and others who combine caring for patients with education and/or research. The award was presented to Dr. Eisenberg at the SGIM annual meeting held on May 2-5.

8.  Child Health Services Researchers Meeting

The Third Annual Child Health Services Researchers meeting will be held on June 9 from 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta. The theme of the meeting is Bridging Research, Practice, and Policy. The meeting is being held in conjunction with the Annual Meeting of the Academy for Health Services Research and Health Policy. Select to access the preliminary program and the registration form.

9.  Child Health Kit

AHRQ has a new Child Health Kit that contains important information about our child health activities. To obtain a copy of the kit, contact the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse. Select for other information on AHRQ's child health activities.

10.  New AHRQ Publications

The 2001 Spring/Summer Publications Catalog has been issued. Print copies are available from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse.

11.  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. Efforts to improve the quality of health care services for children show positive results.
  2. Cervical smears in previously screened postmenopausal women are poor predictors of cervical neoplasia.
  3. Analyzing near-miss medical errors by graduate medical trainees can identify ways to improve medical education.
  4. Health plan choice is associated with increased enrollment in employer-based coverage.

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

During April, 45 guidelines were added to the NGC. There now are 991 guideline summaries in the NGC. Visit to access these guidelines and others.

  • Acute chest pain-suspected myocardial ischemia
  • Acute chest pain-suspected pulmonary embolism
  • Shortness of breath-suspected cardiac origin
  • Chronic chest pain-suspected cardiac origin
  • Blunt chest trauma-suspected aortic injury
  • Blunt abdominal or pelvic trauma-suspected vascular injury
  • Suspected lower extremity deep vein thrombosis
  • Pulsatile abdominal mass
  • Diagnosis imaging in patients with claudication
  • Suspected congenital heart disease in an adult
  • Childhood immunizations
  • Patients with suspected bowel obstruction: imaging strategies
  • Imaging strategies in the evaluation of the jaundice patient
  • Pre-treatment staging of colorectal cancer
  • Imaging of blunt abdominal trauma
  • Evaluation of acute right upper quadrant pain
  • Evaluation of acute right lower quadrant pain
  • Suspected abdominal abscess
  • Imaging recommendations for patients with newly suspected Crohn's disease, and in patients with known Crohn's disease and acute exacerbation or suspected complications
  • Liver lesion characterization
  • Imaging evaluation of the palpable abdominal mass
  • Screening and management of lipids
  • Screening for bacterial vaginosis in pregnancy: recommendations and rationale
  • Screening for chlamydial infection: recommendations and rationale
  • Screening for lipid disorders in adults: recommendations and rationale
  • Screening for skin cancer: recommendations and rationale
  • Acute pancreatitis
  • Imaging evaluation of patients with acute abdominal pain and fever
  • Suspected liver metastases
  • Imaging recommendations for patients with dysphagia
  • Screening for colorectal cancer
  • National high blood pressure education program working group report on high blood pressure in pregnancy
  • Suspected bacterial endocarditis
  • Acute chest pain-no ECG evidence of myocardial ischemia/infarction
  • Chronic chest pain, without evidence of myocardial ischemia/infarction
  • Recurrent symptoms following lower extremity arterial bypass surgery
  • Recurrent symptoms following lower extremity angioplasty: claudication and threatened limb
  • Sudden onset of cold, painful leg
  • Unilateral upper extremity swelling and pain
  • Hematemesis
  • Outcomes following traumatic spinal cord injury
  • Pressure ulcer prevention and treatment following spinal cord injury
  • Management of patients with unstable angina and non-ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction
  • Management of acute and chronic pain in sickle cell disease
  • Use of antiretroviral agents in HIV-infected adults and adolescents

13.  AHRQ in the Professional Literature

Derose KP, Hays RD, McCaffrey DF, et al. Does physician gender affect satisfaction of men and women visiting the emergency department? J Gen Intern Med 2001 Apr; 16(4):218-26.

Goodson JD, Bierman AS, Fein O, et al. The future of capitation. The physician role in managing change in practice. J Gen Intern Med 2001 Apr; 16(4);250-56.

Meyer GS. Balancing the quality cycle: tackling the measurement-improvement gap in health care. Part I. Nutrition 2001 Mar; 17(2):172-174 and Part II. (3):271-73.

14.  Factoid

One in four hospital stays includes cardiovascular procedures. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Procedures in U.S. Hospitals, 1997]

Contact Information

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Current as of May 2001


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