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March 22, 2002, Issue No. 49

AHRQ News and Numbers

In 2000, 34.4 percent of the adult population reported that they had an illness or injury that needed care right away from a doctor's office, clinic, or emergency room; slightly more than half of those needing urgent care said they always received care as soon as they wanted. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, 2000.]

Today's Headlines:
  1. AHRQ National Advisory Council meeting
  2. Update and expansion of HCUPnet
  3. EPC Coordinating Center RFP released
  4. Evidence report on management of chronic central neuropathic pain following traumatic spinal cord injury
  5. What's new at AHRQ
  6. Highlights from the most recent edition of our monthly newsletter
  7. AHRQ in the professional literature

1.  AHRQ National Advisory Council Meeting

The AHRQ National Advisory Council is scheduled to meet from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Friday, March 29, at 6010 Executive Boulevard, Rockville, MD. The council will discuss the Agency's FY 2003 budget proposal and the role of the Agency in improving health care quality, disparities in health care, bioterrorism, and priority populations inclusion policy.

2.  Update and Expansion of HCUPnet

AHRQ announced that it has enhanced its free, online hospital statistics tool, HCUPnet, by adding 1998 and 1999 data for the nation, regions of the country, and selected states. Also included for the first time is the Kids' Inpatient Database, the only hospital administrative data set specifically designed for analyzing the use of hospital services by newborns, children and adolescents. AHRQ is conducting an online evaluation until March 31 of the HCUPnet Web site. Your input will help ensure that this site provides easy access for users to national statistics and trends and selected State statistics about hospital stays. We are asking you to review the HCUPnet site for content, presentation, and navigation. We would greatly appreciate your opinions, ratings, and feedback. Select to access the AHRQ press release on the HCUPnet expansion, and HCUPnet to participate in the evaluation.

3.  EPC Coordinating Center RFP Released

AHRQ issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to solicit proposals from institutions to serve as an Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC) Coordinating Center under a 5-year contract. The EPC Coordinating Center will function as an extension of AHRQ's staff administering the EPCs Program. Select to access the solicitation. Proposals are due by April 23.

4.  Evidence Report on Management of Chronic Central Neuropathic Pain Following Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury

We issued the summary of a new evidence report by AHRQ's Evidence-based Practice Center at McMaster University entitled Management of Chronic Central Neuropathic Pain Following Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury. The report states that estimates of the prevalence of chronic pain after Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury (TSCI) vary from 40 percent to 75 percent of patients. Pain is moderate to severe in 25 percent to 60 percent of these persons, is often associated with psychologic and psychiatric conditions, and is severe enough to impair or prevent optimal physical function and daily living. The researchers suggested it appears that local anesthetics, opioids, and clonidine given spinally may be effective to relieve Central Neuropathic Pain following TSCI. Select to access the summary. A print copy of the summary is available by sending an E-mail to

5.  What's New at AHRQ

Select to access the most recent updated information on AHRQ's Web site.

6.  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. Self-management programs found to improve health and reduce use of health care by people with chronic diseases.
  2. Ethnic disparities exist in asthma medication prescribing even for children seen in private practices.
  3. Specialized training helps ER nurses better manage children at risk for suicide.
  4. Misunderstandings and miscommunication are hallmarks of a problematic doctor-patient relationship.

Select to access these articles and others.

7.  AHRQ in the Professional Literature

Egede LE, Zheng D. Modifiable cardiovascular risk factors in adults with diabetes. Prevalence and missed opportunities for physician counseling. Arch Intern Med 2002 Feb 25; 162(4):427-33.

Coyle YM, Hynan LS, Gruchalla RS, et al. Predictors of short-term clinical response to acute asthma care in adults. Int J Qual Health Care 2002 Feb; 14(1):69-75.

Kahn DJ, Richardson DK, Billett HH. Association of thrombocytopenia and delivery method with intraventricular hemorrhage among very-low-birthweight infants. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2002 Jan; 186(1):109-16.

Schneider EC, Zaslavsky AM, Epstein AM. Racial disparities in the quality of care for enrollees in Medicare managed care. JAMA 2002 Mar 13; 287(10):1288-94.

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 March 2002


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