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March 15, 2002, Issue No. 48

AHRQ News and Numbers

In 2000, 72.3 percent of the adult U.S. civilian noninstitutionalized population reported going to a doctor's office or clinic to get care in the last 12 months. Of those receiving care, 82.6 percent reported that they had no problems receiving the care they or their doctor believed necessary. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, 2000.]

Today's Headlines:

  1. Memorial service for AHRQ director John M. Eisenberg
  2. Article by Dr. Eisenberg in U.S. Medicine
  3. Journal article on aspirin underuse by patients with heart disease
  4. Statistical brief on national estimates of health care quality from MEPS
  5. Nominations of topics for Evidence-based Practice Centers
  6. 1999 Nationwide Inpatient Sample database
  7. Nominations for the Child Health Services Research Award
  8. Evidence report on criteria for determining disability in speech-language disorders
  9. New AHRQ publications
  10. AHRQ in the professional literature

1.  Memorial Service for AHRQ Director John M. Eisenberg

A memorial service for AHRQ Director John M. Eisenberg, M.D., M.B.A., will be held on Sunday, March 17, at 2:30 p.m. at Washington Hebrew Congregation, 3935 Macomb Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20016. Dr. Eisenberg passed away on March 10. He died peacefully at his home after a year-long illness caused by a brain tumor.

2.  Article by Dr. Eisenberg in U.S. Medicine

An article by Dr. Eisenberg, entitled "AHRQ Partnerships Promote Patient Safety," appears in the January 2002 issue of U.S. Medicine. It discusses AHRQ's role as partner with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and other Federal agencies; reviews some the Agency's major initiatives in 2001; and discusses priorities for 2002.

3.  Journal Article on Aspirin Underuse by Patients With Heart Disease

A new AHRQ-funded study shows that the percentage of patients with heart disease who report taking aspirin regularly increased from 59 percent to 81 percent between 1995 and 1999. These results reflect substantial improvements in practice, but additional patients could benefit from this inexpensive, effective treatment that reduces deaths from heart disease, recurrent heart attacks, and strokes. Researchers found that patients who didn't take aspirin for their heart conditions had nearly twice the risk of dying than those who took the drug regularly. The article, "Underuse of Aspirin in a Referral Population with Documented Coronary Artery Disease," by Drs. Califf, DeLong, Ostbye, Muhlbaier, and others, at AHRQ's Center for Education and Research on Therapeutics (CERTs), Duke University Medical Center, is published in the March 15 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology. Select for the AHRQ press release.

4.  Statistical Brief on National Estimates of Health Care Quality from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey

Starting in 2000, a self-administered questionnaire was added to the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) to collect a variety of health status and health care quality measures. The health care quality measures for this study were taken from CAHPS®, an AHRQ-sponsored instrument to survey consumers about quality of care. Select to access a statistical summary of the National estimates (PDF File, 592 KB; PDF Help).

5.  Nominations of Topics for Evidence-based Practice Centers

AHRQ invites nominations of topics for evidence reports and technology assessments relating to the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and management of common diseases and clinical conditions, as well as topics relating to organization and financing of health care. Topic nominations should be submitted by April 15. Select for the solicitation in the February 14 issue of the Federal Register.

6.  1999 Nationwide Inpatient Sample Database

AHRQ released its 1999 Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) database. This research tool is used to analyze hospital care of both insured and uninsured patients, and it contains information that includes principal and secondary diagnoses, use of procedures, patient outcomes, and hospital charges. Select for details and ordering information.

7.  Nominations for the Child Health Services Research Award

Nominations for the 2002 HSC Foundation Child Health Services Research Award will be presented on June 22 at the Fourth Annual Child Health Services Researchers meeting sponsored by AHRQ. The meeting will be held in conjunction with the Academy for Health Services Research and Health Policy's annual meeting. The award recognizes the scientific work of emerging scholars in the field of child health services research, particularly research on low-income urban children with special needs. The recipient will receive $1,000 in recognition of his/her contribution to this important area of child health services research. The deadline for nominations is March 29.

8.  Evidence Report on Criteria for Determining Disability in Speech-Language Disorders

We recently issued the summary of a new evidence report by AHRQ's Evidence-based Practice Center at the Research Triangle Institute—University of North Carolina entitled Criteria for Determining Disability in Speech and Language Disorders. The topic for this report was nominated by the Social Security Administration. The report evaluates the reliability and validity of 18 instruments commonly used by speech and language clinicians to diagnose the presence and severity of speech and language disorders. The report also presents the evidence available on using these instruments to predict future communication impairment and/or speech-language functioning. Select for the summary. A print copy of the summary is available by sending an E-mail to

9.  New AHRQ Publications

  1. Breast and Cervical Cancer Research Highlights Program Brief
  2. New brochure about AHRQ
  3. Research on Child and Adolescent Health: New Starts—Fiscal Year 2001

A print copy of these publications is available by sending an E-mail to

10.  AHRQ in the Professional Literature

Erdman DM, Cook CB, Greenlund KJ, et al. The impact of outpatient diabetes management on serum lipids in urban African-Americans with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care 2002 Jan; 25(1):9-15.

Beck RS, Daughtridge R, Sloane PD. Physician-patient communication in the primary care office: a systematic review. J Am Board Fam Pract 2002 Jan-Feb; 15(1):25-38.

Manski RJ, Moeller JF. Use of dental services. An analysis of visits, procedures and providers, 1996. J Am Dent Assoc 2002 Feb; 133(2):167-75.

Normand ST, Zou KH. Sample size considerations in observational health care quality studies. Stat Med 2002 Feb 15; 21(3):331-45.

Contact Information

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Current as of March 2002


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