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November 15, 2002, Issue No. 78

AHRQ News and Numbers

The average total charge for men hospitalized for transurethral prostatectomy (TURP) increased from $8,282 in 1993 to $10,378 in 2000. The total number of hospital discharges decreased from 227,120 to 118,224, while the average length of stay decreased from 4.7 days to 3.2 days during that time period. Note: This does not include statistics for procedures performed in the outpatient setting. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, HCUPnet, 2000.]

Today's Headlines:

  1. New AHRQ Partnerships for Quality initiative will move research into practice more quickly
  2. Transcript from Web chat on Hospital-CAHPS® project is available
  3. CERTs article in British Medical Journal
  4. Call for abstracts for Building Bridges conference
  5. Workshop on improving racial and ethnic data in health care set for December 12-13
  6. AHRQ in the professional literature

1.  New AHRQ Partnerships for Quality Initiative Will Move Research into Practice More Quickly

AHRQ today announced funding of a coordinated set of 22 projects called Partnerships for Quality. The projects will develop partnerships among researchers, health plans, medical and nursing facilities and services, employers, consumer groups and professional societies, including the American Medical Association and the Leapfrog Group, to test prototype activities aimed at accelerating the health system's adoption of research findings that have been shown to improve quality of care for patients. For example, the projects will test financial incentives and rewards to speed the adoption of recommended hospital patient safety practices; test an innovative team-oriented, practice-based continuing medical education program to improve care for patients with type 2 diabetes; build partnerships to promote cooperation in implementing quality improvement strategies in long-term care facilities; incorporate validated quality measures into the recertification of family physicians; and test other approaches to implementing tools and research findings into everyday health care. The projects span much of the nation and involve more than 88,000 medical providers, 5,800 hospitals, nursing homes and other health care facilities; and 180 health plans. Funding for fiscal year 2003 activities totals $2.4 million. Select to access the list of awards on the partnerships and the AHRQ Grants On-Line Database for details about individual projects.

2.  Transcript From Web Chat on Hospital-CAHPS® Project Is Available

A transcript from AHRQ's live, interactive Web chat about the Hospital-CAHPS® project on October 24 is now available. Officials from AHRQ and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services answered questions from more than 175 people about the project, which will develop a survey instrument that will be used to measure and publicly report hospital patients' experiences. Select to access the transcript.

3.  CERTs Article in British Medical Journal

AHRQ-sponsored research on cardiac arrest and ventricular arrhythmia in patients taking antipsychotic drugs, conducted at the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Education and Research on Therapeutics, was published in the November 9 British Medical Journal. Researchers concluded that the increased risk of cardiac arrest and ventricular arrhythmia in patients treated with thioridazine was no worse than in those treated with haloperidol. However, they concluded that thioridazine may have a higher risk of cardiac problems at high doses and suggested that thioridazine should be prescribed at the lowest dose needed to obtain an optimal therapeutic effect. See the article, "Cardiac Arrest and Ventricular Arrhythmia in Patients Taking Antipsychotic Drugs: Cohort Study Using Administrative Data" by Sean Hennessy, Ph.D., et al.

4.  Call for Abstracts for Building Bridges Conference

AHRQ is co-sponsoring the annual Building Bridges conference, a collaborative effort with the American Association of Health Plans, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Blue Cross Blue/Shield Association. The primary purpose of the meeting is to bring together managed care researchers both outside and inside managed care organizations to examine critical issues related to quality, access, and costs. About 250 participants are expected to attend this year's conference, called "Using Research to Build an Accountable Health Care System," to be held April 30-May 2 in Atlanta. The deadline for abstract submissions is December 4. Select to access details about the submission process as well as the conference.

5.  Workshop on Improving Racial and Ethnic Data in Health Care Set for December 12-13

The National Academy of Sciences Panel to Review HHS Collection of Race and Ethnicity Data is holding a workshop in Washington, DC, on December 12-13. The focus of the workshop will be on the collection of race and ethnicity data by states and by private organizations. The goal of the workshop is to address the following questions:

  1. What data are currently collected?
  2. What is the quality of these data?
  3. How are the data used?
  4. What are the benefits to collecting the data?
  5. What are the costs or barriers to collecting such data?

This workshop is part of the activities of a panel that was formed by the Committee on National Statistics and is sponsored by multiple agencies within HHS. For more information about the workshop, please contact Tanya Lee (202) 334-3096.

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.

Weinberger M, Murray MD, Marrero DG, et al. Issues in conducting randomized controlled trials of health services research interventions in nonacademic practice settings: the case of retail pharmacies. Health Serv Res 2002 Aug; 37(4):1067-77. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Winkelmayer WC, Owen W, Glynn RJ, et al. Preventive health care measures before and after start of renal replacement therapy. J Gen Intern Med 2002 Aug; 17(8):588-95. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Starfield B, Robertson J, Riley AW. Social class gradients and health in childhood. Ambul Pediatr 2002 Jul-Aug; 2(4):238-46. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Every N, Hallstrom A, McDonald KM, et al. Risk of sudden versus nonsudden cardiac death in patients with coronary artery disease. Am Heart J 2002 Sept; 144(3):390-6. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Bowers MR, Kiefe CI. Measuring health care quality: comparing and contrasting the medical and the marketing approaches. Am J Med Qual 2002 Jul-Aug; 17(4):136-44. 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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