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Electronic Newsletter

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May 2, 2003, Issue No. 98

AHRQ News and Numbers

Although only two out of every five Hispanics ages 18-64 who needed medical care reported that they always got an appointment with a health provider as soon as they wanted, the percentage of those who reported getting an appointment when they wanted one increased from 33.4 percent in 2000 to 39.6 percent in 2001. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, Trends in Access to Routine Care and Experiences with Care: 2001 (PDF File, 521 KB; PDF Help).]

Today's Headlines:

  1. AHRQ and NCPIE produce new tool to help consumers reduce medication errors
  2. New evidence report summary on health care working conditions
  3. Research in Action synthesis on tools for managed care
  4. New RFA for small research grants for Primary Care Practice-Based Research Networks
  5. Guidelines added to the National Guideline Clearinghouse™
  6. AHRQ in the professional literature

1.  AHRQ and NCPIE Produce New Tool to Help Consumers Reduce Medication Errors

AHRQ and the National Council on Patient Information and Education (NCPIE) released a new resource called Your Medicine: Play It Safe, to help consumers use prescription medicines safely. The 12-page brochure, available in English and Spanish, includes a detachable, pocket-sized medicine record form that can be personalized. Select to access the English version and the Spanish version of the guide. The guide is also available on the NCPIE Web site. A print copy is available by sending an E-mail to Bulk orders are available for purchase from NCPIE; E-mail or call (301) 656-8565.

2.  New Evidence Report Summary on Health Care Working Conditions

AHRQ has released an evidence report summary on The Effect of Health Care Working Conditions on Patient Safety, which was produced by AHRQ's Oregon Health & Science University Evidence-based Practice Center. The report concluded there is enough evidence to make several recommendations on specific strategies for improving patient safety, including increasing nurse staffing levels in acute-care hospitals and enhancing systems for communicating between hospitals and other health care settings. However, the report also identified several other specific working conditions for which further research is needed. Among the projects in the portfolio of patient safety research projects AHRQ is funding are a number of projects that will address some of the issues cited in the report. Select to access the press release and to read the summary. A print copy is available by sending an E-mail to

3.  Research in Action Synthesis on Tools for Managed Care

AHRQ released a Research in Action synthesis, Tools for Managed Care. Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) are responsible for ensuring that persons enrolled in their plans receive quality health care and are required by State and Federal Governments to meet certain quality standards. Therefore, MCOs need a reliable source to provide the most current and scientifically sound tools. This synthesis describes these tools and how they have been used. It also provides information on where to learn more about them. Select to read the synthesis. A print copy is available by sending an E-mail to

4.  New RFA for Small Research Grants for Primary Care Practice-Based Research Networks

AHRQ issued a new Request for Applications for primary care practice-based research networks (PBRNs) to apply for small research grants to conduct exploratory/pilot projects or feasibility studies. PBRNs are groups of ambulatory practices devoted principally to the primary care of patients, affiliated with each other in order to investigate questions related to community-based practice. Deadline for applications is July 24. Select to access the RFA.

5.  Guidelines Added to the National Guideline Clearinghouse™

Select to access 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

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.

Schillinger D, Piette J, Grumbach K, et al. Closing the loop: physician communication with diabetic patients who have low health literacy. Arch Intern Med 2003 Jan 13;163(1):83-90. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Murphy N, Irwin M, Hoff C. Intrathecal baclofen therapy in children with cerebral palsy: efficacy and complications. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2002 Dec;83(12):1721-5. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Iwashyna TJ, Change VW, Zhang JX, et al. The lack of effect of market structure on hospice use. Health Serv Res 2002 Dec;37(6):1531-51. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Ashton CM, Haidet P, Paterniti DA, et al. Racial and ethnic disparities in the use of health services. J Gen Intern Med 2003 Feb;18(2):146-52. 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 May 2003


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