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October 18, 2002, Issue No. 74

AHRQ News and Numbers

Hispanics and blacks age 18 and older were more likely than whites and people of other races to report having diabetes. Uninsured people with diabetes age 18-64 were less likely than those with private insurance to report having had a Hemoglobin A1C test, or to have had their feet checked for sores or irritations. [Source: AHRQ, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, Medical Care and Treatment for Chronic Conditions, 2000.]

Today's Headlines:

  1. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force issues caution on combined hormone therapy
  2. Research shows that endometrial ablation rates rising but still low
  3. AHRQ awards new grants to Primary Care Practice-Based Research Networks
  4. Business case symposium presentations available
  5. Health Legacy Partnership conference set for October 29
  6. AMA/AHRQ Forum on Clinical Quality Improvement
  7. AcademyHealth fall seminars on research methods set for November 4-6
  8. Guidelines added to the National Guideline Clearinghouse™
  9. AHRQ in the professional literature

1.  U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Issues Caution on Combined Hormone Therapy

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommended Against the Use of combined estrogen and progestin therapy for preventing cardiovascular disease and other chronic conditions in postmenopausal women. The Task Force found evidence for both benefits and harms of combined estrogen and progestin therapy, one of the most commonly prescribed hormone regimens. However, the Task Force concluded that harmful effects of the combined therapy are likely to exceed the chronic disease prevention benefits for most women. The Task Force further concluded that the evidence is insufficient to recommend for or against the use of estrogen alone for prevention of chronic conditions in postmenopausal women who have had a hysterectomy. A study of estrogen therapy in women who have had hysterectomies is continuing as part of the National Institutes of Health Women's Health Initiative because it has not yet found clear benefit or harm. Select to access our press release and to view the Task Force recommendation.

On October 23-24, NIH will hold a scientific workshop that will review the results from one component of the Women's Health Initiative clinical trial in the context of other completed and ongoing federally funded research on menopausal combination hormone therapy.

2.  Research Shows That Endometrial Ablation Rates Rising but Still Low

A new AHRQ study shows that from 1990 to 1997, the rates of endometrial ablation, or the use of a laser to remove the lining of the uterus, have been increasing as a treatment for women with non-cancerous abnormal uterine bleeding. But despite the facts that the procedure requires a shorter hospital stay, women recover much faster, and it costs less than a hysterectomy (removal of the entire uterus), endometrial ablation is more often an additional technology rather than a substitute for hysterectomy. The article, "Impact of Endometrial Ablation on Hysterectomy Rates," by AHRQ researchers Cynthia M. Farquhar, Sandra Naoom, and Claudia Steiner, M.D., M.P.H., was published in the October issue of the International Journal of Technology Assessment. A print copy is available by sending an E-mail to

3.  AHRQ Awards New Grants to Primary Care Practice-Based Research Networks

AHRQ announced the award of developmental grants to 36 Primary Care Practice-Based Research Networks as part of our ongoing initiative to put research into practice. The awards will total over $3 million in the first year, with a combined 3-year total of more than $6 million. Primary Care Practice-Based Research Networks are groups of primary care practices working together with academic researchers to answer community-based health care questions and to translate research findings into practice. Many of the awards to newly formed networks will support the development of information technology infrastructure to facilitate research and implementation of findings. Some of the awards also will fund pilot research projects on such topics as optimal management of chronic diseases, the delivery of preventive services, community-based detection and response to emerging public health threats, and disparities in the health care of priority populations (especially rural residents and racial/ethnic minorities). Select to see our press release.

4.  Business Case Symposium Presentations Available

Safety experts joined frontline health care CEOs September 26 and 27 for a national symposium, "Building the Business Case for Patient Safety," sponsored by AHRQ and the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Department of Defense were co-sponsors, and the American Hospital Association participated in the development of the conference. Presentations by Jeffrey D. Selberg, President and CEO of Exempla Healthcare in Denver; Project HOPE health economist Gail R. Wilensky, Ph.D.; and Brent C. James, M.D., Vice President for Medical Research at Intermountain Health Care. A summary of the proceedings will be available later this fall. A white paper based on the symposium proceedings also is being developed jointly by AHRQ and the Joint Commission.

5.  Health Legacy Partnership Conference Set for October 29

The third annual Health Legacy Partnership conference will be held on October 29 at the National Press Club. The goal of the conference is to promote the importance of using evidence-based information in deciding on health treatments and to discuss development of a national health outcomes database. In addition to AHRQ Acting Director Carolyn Clancy, M.D., the conference is being hosted by Eve Slater, M.D., HHS Assistant Secretary for Health; Joseph H. Kanter, Chairman of the Joseph H. Kanter Family Foundation; and Dr. Russell J. Ricci, General Manager, Healthcare Worldwide, IBM, and Chairman of the eHealth Initiative.

6.  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.  orum participants will include physicians, hospitals, health plans, accrediting organizations and other professionals who collect, evaluate, and use data to improve performance and clinical quality.

7.  AcademyHealth Fall Seminars on Research Methods Set for November 4-6

AcademyHealth, formerly the Academy for Health Services Research and Health Policy, will present its fall seminars in health services research methods November 4-6 at the Westin Grand in Washington, DC. AHRQ will be sponsoring 1-day sessions on our Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (November 5) and on our Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (November 6).

8.  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

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.

Mofidi M, Slifkin R, Freeman V, et al. The impact of a State Children's Health Insurance Program on access to dental care. J Am Dent Assoc 2002 Jun; 133(6):707-14. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Manber R, Allen JJ, Morris MM. Alternative treatments for depression: empirical support and relevance to women. J Clin Psychiatry 2002 Jul; 63(7):628-40. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Calhoun PS, Beckham JC, Bosworth HB. Caregiver burden and psychological distress in partners of veterans with chronic posttraumatic stress disorder. J Trauma Stress 2002 Jun; 15(3):205-15. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Ackerman DL, Unitzer J, Greenland S, et al. Inpatient treatment of depression and associated hospital charges. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf 2002 Apr-May; 11(3):219-27. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Orlando M, Meredith LS. Understanding the causal relationship between patient-reported interpersonal and technical quality of care for depression. Med Care 2002 Aug; 40(8):696-704. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Contact Information

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Current as of October 2002


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