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September 13, 2002, Issue No. 70

AHRQ News and Numbers

Nearly 43 percent of people age 18 and older with public insurance report that they have high blood pressure, compared with 21.5 percent of people with private insurance and 13.2 percent of the uninsured. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, Medical Care and Treatment for Chronic Conditions, 2000.]

Today's Headlines:

  1. Health insurance premiums rose more than 30 percent between 1996 and 2000
  2. New publication showcases AHRQ-funded research in medical informatics
  3. HHS Secretary Thompson praises AHRQ work on bioterrorism preparedness
  4. NQF and JCAHO announce first recipients of John Eisenberg Patient Safety awards
  5. AHRQ update article in Health Services Research
  6. Guidelines added to the National Guideline Clearinghouse™
  7. AHRQ in the professional literature

1.  Health Insurance Premiums Rose More Than 30 Percent Between 1996 and 2000

New data from AHRQ's Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) Insurance Component shows that the average annual health insurance premiums in 2000 were $2,655 for single coverage and $6,772 for family coverage in private-sector establishments, an increase of 33.3 percent and 36.7 percent, respectively, since 1996. The data provide detailed trend information on health insurance costs and characteristics between 1996 and 2000, as well as State-by-State breakdowns. Select to access the AHRQ press release and to view the 2000 MEPS IC tables.

2.  New Publication Showcases AHRQ-Funded Research in Medical Informatics

AHRQ released a Research in Action synthesis that describes AHRQ-funded work on electronic medical records, accessibility of information, clinical reminders, clinical decision support, electronic communications, patient education, and self-management of chronic disease. It also features AHRQ-funded research on computer systems and programs used to minimize the impact of bioterrorism threats. Select to access this synthesis, Medical Informatics for Better and Safer Health Care. A print copy is available by sending an E-mail to

3.  HHS Secretary Thompson Praises AHRQ Work on Bioterrorism Preparedness

HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson praised the work of AHRQ and the University of Alabama in a speech on bioterrorism preparedness at the annual meeting of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials in Nashville on September 11. AHRQ initiated a new Web site to teach hospital-based physicians and nurses how to diagnose and treat rare infections and exposures to bioterrorism agents such as anthrax and smallpox. The site was designed by researchers in the Center for Disaster Preparedness at the University of Alabama at Birmingham under a contract from AHRQ. It is the first program of its kind to offer free continuing education credits in bioterrorism preparedness to clinicians. Select to access the Web site and to read Secretary Thompson's remarks.

4.  NQF and JCAHO Announce First Recipients of John Eisenberg Patient Safety Awards

The National Quality Forum (NQF) and the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) announced the first recipients of the annual John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety Awards, which will be presented at the NQF's annual meeting in Washington on October 1. Julianne Morath, R.N., M.S., will receive the Individual Lifetime Achievement Award for her efforts to introduce a culture of patient safety at Children's Hospitals and Clinics in Minneapolis; Concord Hospital in New Hampshire and the Veterans Health Administration National Center for Patient Safety in Ann Arbor, MI, are co-winners of the System Innovation Award; Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Lexington, KY, will receive the Advocacy Award; and David W. Bates, M.D., M.Sc., Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston will receive the Research Award for his cutting-edge research in using information technology to measure and improve medication safety.

5.  AHRQ Update Article in Health Services Research

The AHRQ Update in the August 2002 issue of Health Services Research outlines the next steps in tracking the impact of health services research. The article, "Looking Forward to Impact: Moving Beyond Serendipity," is co-authored by AHRQ's Acting Director Carolyn Clancy, M.D., and Lisa Simpson, M.B., B.Ch., M.P.H. Also included is a tribute to former AHRQ Director John M. Eisenberg, M.D. A print copy of the update is available by sending an E-mail to

6.  Guidelines Added to the National Guideline Clearinghouse™

Select to see what's new at the National Guideline Clearinghouse™ (NGC)—a public resource for evidence-based clinical practice guidelines. Select 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. AHRQ also has available a supply of NGC tutorials on CD-ROM. The tutorial walks you through a series of informative demonstrations and scenarios on using the NGC. The CD-ROM is available free of charge by calling the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse at 1-800-358-9295 or by sending an E-mail to

7.  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.

Kovner C, Jones C, Zhan C, et al. Nurse staffing and postsurgical adverse events: an analysis of administrative data from a sample of U.S. hospitals, 1990-1996. Health Serv Res 2002 Jun; 37(3):611-29. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Darby C. Patient/parent assessment of the quality of care. Ambul Pediatr 2002 July-Aug; 2(4 Suppl):345-8. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Kent DM, Hayward RA, Griffith JL, et al. An independently derived and validated predictive model for selecting patients with myocardial infarction who are likely to benefit from tissue plasminogen activator compared with streptokinase. Am J Med 2002 Aug 1; 113(2):104-11. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Finkelstein JA, Lozano P, Farber HJ, et al. Underuse of controller medications among Medicaid-insured children with asthma. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2002 Jun; 156(6):562-7. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Freburger JK, Konrad TR. The use of federal and State databases to conduct health services research related to physical and occupational therapy. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2002 Jun; 83(6):837-45. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Contact Information

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Current as of September 2002


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