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May 31, 2002, Issue No. 59

AHRQ News and Numbers

In 1999, 118,715 U.S. patients were hospitalized for colon cancer, with an average length of stay of 9.4 days and an average charge of $25,855. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, Nationwide Inpatient Sample.]

Today's Headlines:

  1. New analysis in New England Journal of Medicine confirms direct link between hospital nurse staffing and patient safety
  2. American Medical News Ethics Forum features AHRQ's Carolyn Clancy
  3. Talking Quality Web site
  4. Do you know how AHRQ's research is being used?
  5. New AHRQ publications
  6. AHRQ in the professional literature

1.  New Analysis in New England Journal of Medicine Confirms Direct Link Between Hospital Nurse Staffing and Patient Safety

In an AHRQ-funded study, analysis of data on nurse staffing levels confirms that there is a direct link between the number of registered nurses and the hours they spend with patients and whether patients develop a number of serious complications or die while in the hospital. Investigators reexamined and refined their previous analysis released by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) in April 2001 as part of an ongoing collaboration within the Department of Health and Human Services to improve nursing care in American hospitals. The partnership also included AHRQ, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) National Institute for Nursing Research. The original HRSA report and the new analysis, published in the May 30 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, were conducted by Jack Needleman, Ph.D., of the Harvard School of Public Health, and Peter Buerhaus, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., of the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. Select to access the press release.

2.  American Medical News Ethics Forum Features AHRQ's Carolyn Clancy

Carolyn Clancy, acting director of AHRQ, was asked by American Medical News to write a reply to the following question: How should physicians address controversies in medicine with their patients and the public at large? Dr. Clancy's reply appears in the June 3 publication's Ethics Forum.

3.  Talking Quality Web Site

AHRQ, along with CMS and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in April launched a Web site designed to help benefit managers, consumer advocates, and state officials communicate with their audiences about health care quality. The site,, provides step-by-step instructions on how to implement a quality measurement and reporting project, such as a health plan report card. It provides practical advice and examples on what to say about health care quality, how to say it, and how best to get the information, especially information on plans and providers, into the hands of consumers.

4.  Do You Know How AHRQ's Research Is Being Used?

We are always looking for ways in which AHRQ-funded research, products, and tools have changed peoples' lives, influenced clinical practice, improved policies, and affected patient outcomes. Impact case studies describe AHRQ research findings in action. These case studies have been used in testimony, budget documents, and speeches. We would like to know if you are aware of any impact your research has had on health care policy, clinical practice, or patient outcomes. Contact AHRQ's Impact Case Studies Program at (301) 427-1243 with your impact stories.

5.  New AHRQ Publications

Future Directions for Community-Based Long-term Care Health Services Research

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

6.  AHRQ in the Professional Literature

Stryer DB. The development and role of predictive instruments in acute coronary events: improving diagnosis and management. J Cardiovasc Nurs 2002 Apr; 16(3):1-8. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Grembowski DE, Cook KS, Patrick DL, et al. Managed care and the U.S. health care system: a social exchange perspective. Soc Sci Med 2002 Apr; 54(8):1167-80. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Shelton BJ, Wofford JL, Gosselink CA, et al. Recruitment and retention of physicians for primary care research. J Community Health 2002 Apr; 27(2):79-89. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Contact Information

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Current as of May 2002


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