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June 7, 2001, Issue No. 29

AHRQ News and Numbers

Today's Headlines:

  1. Testimony available from May 24 hearing on medical errors and patient safety
  2. MEPS 1997 data release
  3. Academy for Health Services Research and Health Policy meeting
  4. Article in Archives of Internal Medicine on comorbidity and glycemic control with Type 2 diabetes
  5. Hip fracture study calls for assessing patients' risks of both functional impairment and death
  6. Patient safety/medical errors audio tapes
  7. Over 1,000 guidelines now in the National Guideline Clearinghouse™
  8. AHRQ in the professional literature
  9. Factoid

1.  Testimony Available from May 24 Hearing on Medical Errors and Patient Safety

HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson testified at a May 24 hearing held by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions 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. Select to access his testimony.

2.  MEPS 1997 Data Release

AHRQ issued a press release on June 5 announcing availability of the 1997 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) health care use and expenditure data. The biggest increase in health care expenditures between 1996 and 1997 was in prescribed medicines. The data show that the 1997 total for drug expenditures, $72.3 billion, was an increase of almost $7 billion from the 1996 MEPS expenditure estimates. The data also show that the average cost per person for medical expenditures was $2,424, and in total, about $553 billion in payments were made for health care services and supplies used by the civilian noninstitutionalized population. MEPS is an ongoing survey designed to provide nationally representative data on the types of health care Americans use, how frequently they use them, and who pays for their care. It also provides information on the types and costs of private health insurance used by the U. S. population. The 1997 data are the second year of expenditure data to be released from MEPS and should be particularly useful to researchers. Select to access the AHRQ press release and the data.

3.  Academy for Health Services Research and Health Policy Meeting

Dr. John Eisenberg, Director of AHRQ, will be presenting the work of the agency at the annual meeting of the Academy for Health Services Research and Health Policy. The theme of this year's meeting is "Shaping our Health Care Future." On June 10, Dr. Eisenberg will present an update of AHRQ activities at a session entitled "Research Agenda of AHRQ." On June 11, Dr. Eisenberg will chair a panel, "Improving the Performance of Health Systems: The World Health Organization (WHO) Report." The Academy seeks to stimulate the development, understanding, and use of the best available health services research and health policy information by public and private decisionmakers.

4.  Article in Archives of Internal Medicine on Comorbidity and Glycemic Control with Type 2 Diabetes

An AHRQ-funded study found that comorbidity does not appear to make it more difficult to control blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. The primary comorbidities studied were hypertension, pain, high cholesterol, cardiac disease, and peripheral vascular disease. The study population was predominantly African-American, middle-aged, and obese; 66 percent of the study participants were female. The article, "Comorbidity and Glycemic Control in Patients with Type II Diabetes," by Imad M. El-Kebbi, MD, et al., was published in the May 28 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

5.  Hip Fracture Study Calls for Assessing Patients' Risks of Both Functional Impairment and Death

AHRQ issued a press release on June 5 on a study appearing in JAMA that describes how acute and post-acute care medical staff could improve the outcomes of the approximately 350,000 patients who have hip fractures annually in the United States by focusing on reducing the risk of complications that often leave patients unable to walk or lead to death. The article, "Mortality and Locomotion Six Months After Hospitalization for Hip Fracture: Risk Factors and Risk-Adjusted Hospital Outcomes," is by AHRQ grantee Albert L. Siu, M.D., of Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Select to access the AHRQ press release.

6.  Patient Safety/Medical Errors Audio Tapes

AHRQ's User Liaison Program (ULP) has three 90-minute audio tapes available on medical errors. They are: "How Safe Is Our Health Care System? What Can States Do to Improve Patient Safety and Reduce Medical Errors." Call the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse, 1-800-358-9295; or E-mail them at Ask for order number AHRQ 00-AVIIA. The cost is $10 per set.

7.  Over 1,000 Guidelines Now in the National Guideline Clearinghouse™

During May, 22 guidelines were added to the NGC to bring the total to 1,001 guideline summaries. Select to see these and others:

  • Care for liposuction.
  • Clinical challenges of perimenopause: consensus opinion of the North American Menopause Society.
  • Antibiotoic prophylaxis to prevent infective endocarditis or infective prosthesis during colon and rectal endoscopy.
  • Treatment of sigmoid diverticulitis.
  • Use of anthrax vaccine in the United States.
  • Use of antiretroviral drugs in pregnant HIV-1-infected women for maternal health and interventions to reduce perinatal HIV-1 transmission in the United States.
  • Hormone replacement therapy: collaborative decision making and management.
  • Acute sinusitis in adults.
  • Community-acquired pneumonia.
  • Treatment of dysmenorrhea.
  • Care for primary cutaneous melanoma.
  • Determination of cervical spine stability in trauma patients.
  • Prophylactic antibiotic use in open fractures.
  • Diagnosis and management of blunt aortic injury.
  • Prophylactic antibiotic use in penetrating abdominal trauma.
  • Prophylactic antibiotic use in tube thoracostomy for traumatic hemopneumothorax.
  • Intrapartum fetal heart rate management.
  • Treatment of acute myocardial infarction.
  • Treatment of lipid disorder in adults.
  • Preventing pneumococcal disease among infants and young children.
  • Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
  • Outpatient prescription of oral opioids for injured workers with chronic, noncancer pain.

8.  AHRQ in the Professional Literature

Friedman B, Basu J. Health insurance, primary care, and preventable hospitalization of children in a large state. Am J Manage Care 2001 May;7(5):473-81.

Meyer G, Lewin DI, Eisenberg J. To err is preventable: medical errors and academic medicine. Am J Med 2001 May; 110(7):597-603.

Asch SM, Kerr EA, Lapuerta P, et al. A new approach for measuring quality of care for women with hypertension. Arch Intern Med 2001 May 28;161(10):1329-35.

Bradley EH, Holmboe ES, Mattera JA, et al. A qualitative study of increasing ß-Blocker use after myocardial infarction: why do some hospitals succeed? JAMA 2001 May 23/30:285(20):2604-11.

Burstin H, Lewin DI, Hubbard H. Future directions in primary care research: special issues for nurses. Policy Polit Nurs Pract 2001 May;2(2):103-7.

9.  Factoid

Women are more likely than men to receive a colonoscopy. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Procedures in U.S. Hospitals, 1997]

Contact Information

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Current as of June 2001


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