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April 4, 2002, Issue No. 51

AHRQ News and Numbers

New survey data in 2000 from AHRQ's Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) found that 68.1 percent of the U.S. population 18 and over had made appointments with a doctor or health provider in the past 12 months. Of those who made an appointment, fewer than half reported always obtaining an appointment as soon as they wanted. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, MEPS, 2000.]

Today's Headlines:

  1. Study finds that many computerized interventions started with AHRQ research
  2. Study finds disparities in treatment of Hispanics with cerebrovascular disease
  3. Article outlines steps that health information professionals can take to monitor and prevent medical errors
  4. Evaluation of health care payment demonstration: Rewarding Results RFA
  5. AHRQ child health toolbox online evaluation—now through April 30
  6. How AHRQ helps people
  7. FACCT's Fourth Annual briefing
  8. AHRQ in the professional literature
  9. Guidelines added to the National Guideline Clearinghouse™

1.  Study Finds that Many Computerized Interventions Started with AHRQ Research

Many of today's commonplace computerized interventions, such as drug interaction alerts, had their genesis in early AHRQ research initiatives, according to an article in the March/April issue of the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. AHRQ's J. Michael Fitzmaurice, Ph.D., Karen Adams, and former Director John M. Eisenberg, M.D., provide a review of the Agency's history of funding research and development in the field of medical informatics. Grant investments since 1968 from AHRQ and its predecessor organizations totaled $107 million.

The review paper is titled, "Three Decades of Research on Computer Applications in Health Care: Medical Informatics Support at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality," Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association 2002 9:144-160.

2.  Study Finds Disparities in Treatment of Hispanics with Cerebrovascular Disease

A new study by AHRQ researchers found that Hispanic patients hospitalized in California and New York in 1996 for suspected cerebrovascular disease were more likely to have non-invasive diagnostic tests, such as CT scans, MRIs, and ultrasound ordered for them that non-Hispanic white patients. However, Hispanics were less likely to undergo an invasive, higher risk exam—cerebral arteriography—and carotid endarterectomy surgery to open a clogged artery that supplies blood to the brain. The article, "Differences Between Hispanics and Non-Hispanic Whites in Use of Hospital Procedures for Cerebrovascular Disease," was published in the Winter 2002 issue of Ethnicity and Disease. Select to access the abstract online.

3.  Article Outlines Steps that Health Information Professionals Can Take to Monitor and Prevent Medical Errors

The development of AHRQ's Patient Safety Indicators, expected to be released in late 2002, is described in an article authored by Patrick Romano, M.D., Kathryn McDonald, M.M., and AHRQ researchers Anne Elixhauser, Ph.D., and Marlene Miller, M.D. The article, "HIM's Role in Monitoring Patient Safety," was published in the March 2002 issue of the Journal of AHIMA. It describes the steps health information management professionals can take to make a contribution to the national effort of monitoring and preventing medical errors through the application and ongoing refinement of ICD-9-CM and, eventually, ICD-10-CM codes for diagnoses, procedures, and complications. A copy of the article is available by sending an E-mail to

4.  Evaluation of Health Care Payment Demonstration: Rewarding Results RFA

AHRQ, in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), issued a Request for Applications (RFA) for a cooperative agreement research project that will examine the impact of financial and non-financial incentives on the quality of health care services. The RFA builds on RWJF's "Rewarding Results: Aligning Incentives with High-Quality Health Care," a national effort to develop, evaluate, and share findings about innovations in the use of incentives to encourage and reward high-quality care. Select to access the RFA.

5.  AHRQ Child Health Toolbox Online Evaluation - Now through April 30

AHRQ is conducting an online evaluation of its Child Health Toolbox, a Web-based resource on children's quality and other performance measures that has been revised to reflect recent improvements in quality measurement of child health programs. The Toolbox is designed to be useful to State policymakers and others concerned about the quality of children's health care. It provides concepts, tips, and tools for evaluating quality of health care in Medicaid, the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), Title V, and other health care service programs for children. Feedback from users of this site will be most helpful to AHRQ as it considers further revisions to this public investment in improving children's health care quality. Go to for the evaluation.

6.  How AHRQ Helps People

AHRQ has a new addition to our Web site. Select "How AHRQ Helps People" to see information describing the impact of AHRQ research on the Medicare program and other aspects of the entire health care system-including patients, providers, and policymakers.

7.  FACCT's Fourth Annual Briefing

FACCT, the Foundation for Accountability, a not-for-profit organization, is hosting a free all-day seminar May 15 in Washington, DC, entitled, "Who's in the Driver's Seat? Leading Efforts in Consumer-Centered Health Care." The seminar is being funded through an AHRQ conference grant. It will focus on motivations and behaviors of consumers, tools and techniques to educate consumers and support informed decisionmaking, and strategies and resources to support the active consumer. The keynote speaker will be Geraldine Laybourne, Chair & CEO of Oxygen Media. Although the event is free, registration is required. Contact FACCT at

8.  AHRQ in the Professional Literature

Egerter S, Braveman P, Marchi K. Timing of insurance coverage and use of prenatal care among low-income women. Am J Public Health 2002 Mar; 92(3):423-27. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Grabenstein JD, Guess HA, Hartzema AG, et al. Attitudinal factors among adult prescription recipients associated with choice of where to be vaccinated. J Clin Epidemiol 2002 Mar; 55(3):279-84. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Hibbard JH, Berkman N, McCormack LA, Jael E. The impact of a CAHPS® report on employee knowledge, beliefs, and decisions. Med Care Res Rev 2002 Mar; 59(1):104-16. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Chang RK, Klitzner TS. Can regionalization decrease the number of deaths for children who undergo cardiac surgery? A theoretical analysis. Pediatrics 2002 Feb; 109(2):173-81. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

9.  Guidelines Added to the National Guideline Clearinghouse™

To see what's new at the National Guideline Clearinghouse™ (NGC)—a public resource for evidence-based clinical practice guidelines—go to To subscribe to the NGC Weekly Update Service, which notifies you via E-mail when new features and guidelines become available at the NGC Web site, go to and select Subscribe to the NGC Weekly E-mail Update Service.

Contact Information

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Current as of March 2002


The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


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