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November 1, 2002, Issue No. 76

AHRQ News and Numbers

Since 1997, there has been a significant decline in the number of employers who offer health insurance to their retirees of any age. Offerings to retirees under age 65 dropped from 21.6 percent in 1997 to only 12 percent in 2000. Offerings to retirees 65 and older have dropped from 19.5 percent to 10.7 percent over the same period. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, Insurance Component, 2000.]

Today's Headlines:

  1. Prescription drug therapies: reducing costs and improving outcomes
  2. Periodic updates of Guide to Clinical Preventive Services
  3. National Conference on Asthma set for June 2003
  4. AHRQ nursing research featured in Outcomes Management
  5. Special edition of Medical Care—a tribute to former AHRQ director John Eisenberg
  6. AHRQ in the professional literature

1.  Prescription Drug Therapies: Reducing Costs and Improving Outcomes

AHRQ released a Research in Action synthesis that helps to answer questions about which medicines work best at the lowest cost. In addition, the synthesis focuses on the relationship between drug cost and patient outcomes, including the use of more expensive drugs to avoid more expensive treatment costs in the future. Select to access the synthesis, Prescription Drug Therapies: Reducing Costs and Improving Outcomes. A print copy is available by sending an E-mail to

2.  Periodic Updates of Guide to Clinical Preventive Services

Recommendations from the current U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, compiled in installments in a 2-volume loose-leaf notebook, are available by subscription. The first installment of the Guide to Clinical Preventive Services, Third Edition: Periodic Updates will be available later this year. The Guide will be updated about twice each year and will contain recently released recommendation statements, summaries of the evidence, background articles, and an index that will be updated with each installment. The recommendations and evidence summaries to be included in the first installment focus on lipid screening, skin cancer screening, chlamydia screening, screening for bacterial vaginosis, newborn hearing screening, and aspirin for the primary prevention of cardiovascular events The second installment, expected  in early 2003, will include recommendations and evidence summaries on breast cancer screening, depression screening, chemoprevention of breast cancer, colorectal cancer screening, counseling to promote physical activity, and osteoporosis screening. Cost of the full subscription, which ultimately will include all recommendations and supporting materials released over a 5-year period, is $60. You can order the subscription by calling the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse: 1-800-358-9295 or by sending an E-mail to Select to access the recommendations

3.  National Conference on Asthma Set for June 2003

Mark your calendars. The National Conference on Asthma will be held June 19-21, 2003, in Washington, DC. The conference, "Meeting the Challenge of Healthy People 2010: Preventing and Controlling Asthma," is sponsored by the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program and coordinated by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. It will address the asthma and asthma-related objectives of Healthy People 2010, as well as overarching goals to increase years of healthy life and eliminate health disparities. Asthma 2003 will examine a number of topics, including recent trends in asthma management, cutting-edge basic and clinical research, new therapies and medications, the hope of genetics research, patient education and skill building, community-based interventions, the demographics of asthma, and emergency department clinical recommendations. Select to access registration and more information about the conference.

4.  AHRQ Nursing Research Featured in Outcomes Management

AHRQ's increased focus on nursing-related research, particularly outcomes and effectiveness research, and the need to maintain a strong nursing presence within the Agency is the topic of an article in the October/December issue of Outcomes Management. The article, "Outcomes and Effectiveness Research: Capacity Building for Nurse Researchers at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality," is co-authored by AHRQ's Heddy Hubbard, R.N., M.P.H.; Patricia H. Walker, Ph.D., R.N.; Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D.; and Daniel Stryer, M.D. Authors also highlight AHRQ's research agenda and the funding opportunities for nurses. Select to access the abstract. Reprints of the article are available by sending an E-mail to

5.  Special Edition of Medical Care—A Tribute to Former AHRQ Director John Eisenberg

The November 2002 issue of Medical Care contains a tribute to former AHRQ Director John Eisenberg, who died in March. Lippincott Wilkins & Williams is providing open access to this issue of Medical Care until December 31, 2002. Go to and select "Journal Contents" to access the tribute issue.

6.  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.

Orosz GM, Hannan EL, Magaziner J, et al. Hip fracture in the older patient: reasons for delay in hospitalization and timing of surgical repair. J Am Geriatr Soc 2002 Aug; 50(8):1336-49. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Flores G. Mad scientists, compassionate healers, and greedy egotists: the portrayal of physicians in the movies. J Natl Med Assoc 2002 Jul, 94(7):635-58. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Burke W, Atkins D, Gwinn M, et al. Genetic test evaluation: information needs of clinicians, policy makers, and the public. Am J Epidemiol 2002 Aug 15; 156(4):311-8. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Edge SB, Gold K, Berg CD, et al. Patient and provider characteristics that affect the use of axillary dissection in older women with Stage I-II breast carcinoma. Cancer 2002 May 15; 94(10):2534-41. 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 November 2002


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