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Electronic Newsletter

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January 31, 2003, 2003, Issue No. 86

AHRQ News and Numbers

Among those age 18-64, whites and blacks are more likely than Hispanics and others to say they need urgent care (33.3% of whites, 33.0% of blacks, 25.2% of Hispanics, and 24.7% of others). Among those needing urgent care, whites are less likely than the other race/ethnicity groups to say they sometimes or never received care as soon as they wanted in 2001 (14.3% of whites, 20.3% of blacks, 24.2% of Hispanics and 28.6% of others). [Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality,MEPS Statistical Brief #8: Access to Urgent Medical Care: 2001, December 2002 (PDF File, 431 KB; PDF Help).

Today's Headlines:

  1. HHS Secretary Thompson to unveil proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2004
  2. AHRQ-funded IOM report outlines priority areas for transforming health care quality
  3. AHRQ initiatives in information technology featured in Healthcare Informatics
  4. Translating Research Into Practice conference set for July
  5. Conference on the Scientific Basis of Health Services scheduled for September
  6. New AHRQ publication
  7. Guidelines added to the National Guideline Clearinghouse™
  8. AHRQ in the professional literature

1.  HHS Secretary Thompson to Unveil Proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2004

HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson will hold a press event on Monday, February 3 to unveil the Administration's proposed budget for fiscal year 2004. The budget is expected to include additional funding for bioterrorism preparedness and other HHS priorities. More details about the budget are available on the HHS Web site.

2.  AHRQ-Funded IOM Report Outlines Priority Areas for Transforming Health Care Quality

An AHRQ-funded report released by the Institute of Medicine earlier this month documents disturbing shortfalls in the quality of health care in the United States and suggests priorities for making improvements. The new report, Priority Areas for National Action: Transforming Health Care Quality, outlines guiding principles, criteria, and a list of 20 priority areas for improvement. Those 20 areas are: care coordination, self-management/health literacy, asthma, evidence-based cancer screening, children with special health care needs, diabetes, end of life with advanced organ system failure, frailty associated with old age, hypertension, immunization, ischemic heart disease, major depression, medication management, hospital-acquired infections, advanced cancer pain control, pregnancy and childbirth, severe and persistent mental illness, stroke, tobacco dependence, and obesity. As next steps, the report recommends that AHRQ work with other public- and private-sector organizations to continuously assess progress in making improvements. Select for the Executive Summary of the report; select to order copies of the full report from the IOM.

3.  AHRQ Initiatives in Information Technology Featured in Healthcare Informatics

AHRQ's increased focus on IT initiatives to improve patient safety, health care quality, public health, and bioterrorism preparedness is the topic of an article in the January issue of Healthcare Informatics. The article, "The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Supports an Array of IT Initiatives to Improve Health Care Quality," is written by AHRQ's Eduardo Ortiz, M.D., M.P.H., and highlights AHRQ's research agenda.

4.  Translating Research Into Practice Conference Set for July

Mark your calendars! AHRQ is sponsoring a conference called "Translating Research Into Practice: What's Working? What's Missing?" for policymakers, researchers, and representatives from health care delivery systems. The conference will be held July 22-24 in Washington, DC. More information will follow in upcoming issues of this newsletter. For urgent questions, contact Alison Horan at or (703) 269-5606 at the EPC Coordinating Center.

5.  Conference on the Scientific Basis of Health Services Scheduled for September

The Fifth Conference on the Scientific Basis of Health Services will be hosted by AHRQ and AcademyHealth, September 20-23, 2003, in Washington, DC. This series has provided an international forum for the exchange of research and experience in the use of health services research to improve access to and the quality of health care systems. The 2003 conference is organized around the following five themes:

  • National Strategies for Organizing Health Services Research.
  • Using Evidence to Improve Clinical Practice.
  • Using Evidence to Improve Health Services Management.
  • Using Evidence to Improve Policymaking.
  • Using Evidence to Alleviate the Burden of Specific Diseases.

6.  New AHRQ Publication

Children's Health Highlights Update

A print copy is available by sending an E-mail to

7.  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

8.  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.

Polsky D, Keating NL, Weeks JC, et al. Patient choice of breast cancer treatment: impact on health state preferences. Med Care 2002 Nov;40(11):1068-79. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Lee TJ, Guzy J, Johnson D, et al. Caller satisfaction with after-hours telephone advice: nurse advice service versus on-call pediatricians. Pediatrics 2002 Nov;110(5):865-72. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Carlson MJ, Shaul JA, Eisen SV, et al. The influence of patient characteristics on ratings of managed behavioral health care. J Behav Health Serv Res 2002 Nov;29(4):481-9. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Friedman B, De La Mare J, Andrews R, et al. Practical options for estimating cost of hospital inpatient stays. J Health Care Financ 2002 Fall;29(1):1-13. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Huie SA, Hummer RA, Rogers RG. Individual and contextual risks of death among race and ethnic groups in the United States. J Health Soc Behav 2002 Sep;43(3):359-81. 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 January 2003


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