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September 6, 2002, Issue No. 69

AHRQ News and Numbers

The average total charge for arthroplasty of the knee (which includes both knee repair and replacement) in U.S. hospitals increased from $19,692 in 1993 to $23,287 in 2000. The total number of procedures increased from 282,177 to 328,122 while the average length of stay decreased from 6.3 days to 4.2 days. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, HCUPnet, 2000.]

Today's Headlines:

  1. AHRQ releases bioterrorism preparedness research and tools to help clinicians
  2. New applicants sought for child and adolescent health scholar
  3. Third National Conference on Quality Health Care for Culturally Diverse Populations
  4. AMA/AHRQ Forum on Clinical Quality Improvement
  5. AHSRHP fall seminars set for November 4-6
  6. Guide to value-based purchasing
  7. Job openings at AHRQ
  8. Do you know how AHRQ's research is being used?
  9. AHRQ in the professional literature

1.  AHRQ Releases Bioterrorism Preparedness Research and Tools to Help Clinicians

AHRQ has recently announced new research and tools designed to help clinicians prepare for a potential bioterrorism event. A downloadable questionnaire designed to help individual hospitals assess their readiness for an attack is now available. A new study sponsored by AHRQ and the American Academy of Family Physicians showed that on the eve of last year's anthrax attacks, primary care doctors felt unprepared for bioterrorism incidents that could expose their patients to the unusual diseases that might be spread by terrorists. A press release on the study offers suggestions and Web resources to help physicians become better prepared. In addition, a new evidence report sponsored by AHRQ indicates that adding clinical practice guidelines and more current data on bioterrorism-related illnesses to existing databases of health information systems is one of several ways to help prepare clinicians for a possible bioterorrism event. Select to access the AHRQ press release on the report, Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response: Use of Information Technologies and Decision Support Systems. Print copies of the report summary are available by sending an E-mail to

2.  New Applicants Sought for Child and Adolescent Health Scholar

AHRQ is seeking new applicants for a child and adolescent health scholar-in-residence. The scholarship is to give a senior child and adolescent health services researcher an opportunity to enhance or develop areas of investigation that integrate children's and adolescents' health services questions with critical issues of health outcomes; quality measurement and improvement; costs, financing, and organization of care; access; and capacity building in child health services research. Applicants need not be physicians, but successful scholars do need to spend a substantial amount of time in "residence" at AHRQ's offices in suburban Washington D.C.  elect for more information on how to apply.

3. Third National Conference on Quality Health Care for Culturally Diverse Populations

AHRQ is cosponsoring the Third National Conference on Quality Health Care for Culturally Diverse Populations: Advancing Effective Health Care through Systems Development, Data, and Measurement on October 2-4 at the Westin Chicago River North. Building on the success and the recommendations derived from the first and second conferences, the objective of the third national conference is to advance effective health care for culturally diverse populations. The conference will provide a national forum for addressing systems development, data, and measurement issues as they relate to the provision of high-quality care for these populations. Select to access registration information.

4.  AMA/AHRQ Forum on Clinical Quality Improvement

The American Medical Association and AHRQ are sponsoring the Clinical Quality Improvement Forum to be held October 30 at the Chicago Marriott O'Hare. This 1-day forum will allow physicians and others to discuss the issues surrounding the impact of health information technology and electronic medical systems on performance measurement, quality enhancement, and practice management. Forum participants will include physicians, hospitals, health plans, accrediting organizations and other professionals who collect, evaluate, and use data to improve performance and clinical quality.

5.  AHSRHP Fall Seminars on Research Methods Set for November 4-6

The Academy for Health Services Research and Health Policy (AHSRHP) will present its fall seminars in health services research methods November 4-6 at the Westin Grand in Washington, D.C. AHRQ will be sponsoring 1-day sessions on HCUP (November 5) and on MEPS (November 6).

6.  Guide to Value-Based Purchasing

AHRQ released a new publication called Evaluating the Impact of Value-based Purchasing Initiatives: A Guide for Purchasers, which encourages health insurance purchasers, and especially employers, to conduct formal evaluations of their value-based purchasing activities. Value-based purchasing refers to any purchasing practices aimed at improving the value of health services where value is a function of both quality and cost. To facilitate such efforts, the guide provides a step-by-step description of an evaluation process that users can adapt to their own projects.

7.  Job Openings at AHRQ

Select to access the complete list of current vacancy announcements.

8.  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.

9.  AHRQ in the Professional Literature

We are providing the following hyperlinks to journal abstracts through PubMed® for your convenience. Unfortunately, some of you may not be able to access the abstracts because of firewalls or specific settings on your individual computer systems. If you are having problems, you should ask your technical support staff for possible remedies.

Harris KM. Can high quality overcome consumer resistance to restricted provider access? Health Serv Res 2002 Jun; 37(3):551-71. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Garg PP, Landrum MB, Normand ST, et al. Understanding individual and small area variation in the underuse of coronary angiography following acute myocardial infarction. Med Care 2002 July; 40(7):614-26. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Clancy CM, Dougherty D, Walker E. The importance of outcomes research in pediatric emergency medicine. Ambul Pediatr 2002 July-Aug; 2(4 Suppl):293-300. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Selker HP, Beshansky JR, Griffith JL. Use of the electrocardiograph-based thrombolytic predictive instrument to assist thrombolytic and reperfusion therapy for acute myocardial infarction. Ann Intern Med 2002 Jul 16; 137(2):87-95. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

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 September 2002


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