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AHRQ and Ad Council Encourage Consumers to Ask Questions and Get More Involved in Their Health Care

Electronic Newsletter, Issue 274

The percentage of pregnant women undergoing a repeat Cesarean section (C-section) delivery jumped from 65 percent to 90 percent between 1997 and 2006. C-sections are more costly than vaginal deliveries, $4,500 versus $2,600 without complications, and $6,100 versus $3,500 with complications. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, HCUP Statistical Brief #71]

The percentage of pregnant women undergoing a repeat Cesarean section (C-section) delivery jumped from 65 percent to 90 percent between 1997 and 2006. C-sections are more costly than vaginal deliveries, $4,500 versus $2,600 without complications, and $6,100 versus $3,500 with complications. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, HCUP Statistical Brief #71: Hospitalizations Related to Childbirth, 2006.]

Today's Headlines

  1. AHRQ and Ad Council encourage consumers to ask questions and get more involved in their health care
  2. Plain-language guides on treatments for osteoarthritis of the knee
  3. Community Quality Collaboratives
  4. AHRQ Quality Indicators Validation Pilot
  5. Upcoming Web conference for clinical pharmacists on Atypical Antipsychotic Drugs and Risk of Sudden Cardiac Death-free CE credit offer
  6. Registration is still open for MEPS Data User's workshop on May 6-7
  7. Patient Safety Organizations Fast Facts now available
  8. AHRQ director helps consumers navigate the health care system in a new advice column on the Web
  9. Highlights from our most recent monthly newsletter
  10. New Child Health Insurance Research Initiative (CHIRI™) Issue Brief available
  11. AHRQ in the professional literature

1.  AHRQ and Ad Council Encourage Consumers to Ask Questions and Get More Involved in Their Health Care

A new series of national public service advertisements designed to encourage consumers to get involved in their health care by knowing and asking appropriate questions when visiting their doctor or other clinicians was launched by AHRQ with The Advertising Council. The new "Questions" PSAs, which were created pro bono by Grey New York, encourage all patients to become more involved in their own health care by asking questions of their doctor or other clinicians. The ads feature people asking questions in everyday situations, such as ordering food at a restaurant and buying a cell phone, but clamming up when their doctor asks if they have questions. The television, radio, print, outdoor and Web ads direct audiences to visit a comprehensive , to learn the 10 questions every patient should think about asking when visiting their doctor or other clinicians. Select to read our press release. 

2. Plain-Language Guides on Treatments for Osteoarthritis of the Knee

AHRQ released plain-language guides for consumers and clinicians that examine the effectiveness, safety, and adverse effects of various treatments for osteoarthritis of the knee, including glucosamine and chondroitin, fluid injections, arthroscopic surgery, pain medications and other approaches. The guides summarize the results of a new report that addresses several questions: How effective are glucosamine and chondroitin for osteoarthritis of the knee? Will losing weight and staying active help the condition? Are there side effects and risks associated with shots or arthroscopic surgery? The consumer guide, called Osteoarthritis of the Knee—A Guide for Adults, defines the chronic and often debilitating condition. It is written to assist patients who seek answers to basic questions, and to guide them when they discuss treatment options with their clinicians. The clinician guide, called Three Treatments for Osteoarthritis of the Knee: Evidence Shows Lack of Benefit, includes additional information, including a confidence scale that rates the available evidence. Print copies of the guides are available by sending an E-mail to 

3. Community Quality Collaboratives

AHRQ launched a new Web site that addresses the needs of Community Quality Collaboratives. Three new resources, formerly available only via the Chartered Value Exchange Learning Network, have also been added:

  • The Sustainability Toolkit for Community Quality Collaboratives: An Overview of the Art & Science of Building Staying Power offers tools to help collaboratives build, maintain, and refine an infrastructure that advances the mission of the organization.
  • The Multi-stakeholder Community Inventory Modules feature tools to assess strengths and goals of Community Quality Collaboratives.
  • The Community Quality Collaborative Leader's Guide to Engaging Consumer Advocates is a resource for including consumer advocates in Community Quality Collaboratives.

The new site also includes links to preexisting AHRQ resources being used by community collaboratives, such as:

  • Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS®).
  • HCUPnet.
  • Identifying, Categorizing, and Evaluating Health Care Efficiency Measures.
  • Pay for Performance: A Decision Guide for Purchasers.

We would be interested in any feedback. Pleas send information to Peggy McNamara at 

4. AHRQ Quality Indicators Validation Pilot

AHRQ is seeking organizations interested in participating in Phase II of the AHRQ Quality Indicators Validation Pilot. The intent of the validation pilot is to establish the feasibility of a collaborative initiative to gather evidence on the scientific acceptability of the AHRQ Patient Safety Indicators. Select to access AHRQ's Quality Indicators Web site for more information on the requirements for participation. 

5. Upcoming Web Conference for Clinical Pharmacists on Atypical Antipsychotic Drugs and Risk of Sudden Cardiac Death—Free CPE Credit Offer

Register now for a free Web conference that will discuss findings from a recent AHRQ-funded study titled "Atypical Antipsychotic Drugs and the Risk of Sudden Cardiac Death." The study's lead researcher Wayne Ray, Ph.D., Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, an AHRQ Center for Education and Research on Therapeutics, will present the findings from the study. The event, intended for clinical pharmacists, will be held on May 1, 1:00—2:00pm, EDT, and is presented by AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program and cosponsored by the American Pharmacists Association. Receive free CPE credit by participating in the event. Visit the registration site for final continuing pharmacy education information. Select to register for the Web conference; access an abstract of the study; and access our press release on the study. 

6.  Registration Is Still Open for MEPS Data User's Workshop on May 6-7

AHRQ is conducting a two-day workshop to facilitate the use of the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Household Component by the health services research community. The workshop, designed for those with an interest in using national health surveys, will be held on May 6-7 at 450 Gaither Road in Rockville. This workshop combines lecture (first day) and hands-on activities (second day). The focus of the workshop will be health care utilization, expenditures, and medical conditions. Select to register. 

7.  Patient Safety Organizations Fast Facts Now Available

Patient Safety Organizations (PSOs) are designed to improve patient safety and quality by encouraging health care providers to voluntarily submit adverse event and other clinical information for analysis. Such information is intended to help health care providers understand the underlying causes of patient harm so that risk to patients can be reduced. Clinicians, patient safety experts, risk managers, and health care leaders now have access to a list of more than 30 Fast Facts to help them better understand PSOs and the crucial role that PSOs have in fostering a culture of patient safety and quality. The Fast Facts are now available online. This information addresses key questions, including:

  • Who can seek listing as a PSO?
  • How does an entity apply to become a PSO?
  • Do PSOs receive Federal funding?
  • What are the benefits to health care providers who work with a PSO?

The Fast Facts also help explain the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Final Rule (Patient Safety Rule), which became effective on January 19, 2009. The Patient Safety Rule establishes a framework by which hospitals, physicians, and other health care providers may voluntarily provide information to PSOs, on a privileged and confidential basis, for the aggregation and analysis of data regarding the quality and safety of patient care. AHRQ has listed 57 entities as PSOs as of April 15 that represent 25 States and the District of Columbia. Contact information for listed PSOs can be viewed through geographic and alphabetical directories on AHRQ's PSO Web site. 

8.  AHRQ Director Helps Consumers Navigate the Health Care System in a New Advice Column on the Web

AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D., offers advice to consumers in new, brief, easy-to-understand columns. The biweekly columns will help consumers better navigate the health care system. Select to read Dr. Clancy's advice columns. 

9.  Highlights from Our Most Recent Monthly Newsletter

The April issue of Research Activities is available online. Key articles include:

  • Boosting and preserving green spaces in urban neighborhoods may help reduce childhood obesity.
    Nearly one in five children and youth were obese (95th percentile of national weight standards or higher) in 2003-2004 and one-third were overweight (between the 85th and below the 95th percentile). Providing urban children with more green space to play in may reduce obesity, suggests a new study. Researchers found that low-income, mostly black youth who lived in high-density neighborhoods with abundant green space had lower body mass index (BMI). Select to read this article.

Other articles include:

  • Nursing home residents with cognitive impairment are able to participate in a motivational intervention.
  • A novel system lets rural hospitals obtain a remote pharmacist's review of medication orders around-the-clock.
  • Older patients with multiple chronic conditions desire personalized care plans from their providers.

Select to read these articles and others. 

10.  New Child Health Insurance Research Initiative (CHIRI™) Issue Brief Available

The Child Health Insurance Research Initiative (CHIRI™) has produced a new Issue Brief, Impact of Primary Care Case Management (PCCM) Implementation in Medicaid and SCHIP. The new Issue Brief summarizes research that studied the impact of of implementing PCCM systems in Alabama and Georgia. Children enrolled in the Alabama and Georgia Medicaid programs were less likely to use emergency departments, but were also less likely to use well-child and other primary care after the implementation of PCCM. Physician participation in Alabama and Georgia Medicaid also declined over the PCCM implementation period. Select to access the Issue Brief. A print copy is available by sending an E-mail to 

11.  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.

Ferranti J, Horvath MM, Cozart H, et al. Reevaluating the safety profile of pediatrics: a comparison of computerized adverse drug event surveillance and voluntary reporting in the pediatrics environment. Pediatrics 2008 May; 121(5):e1201-8. Select to access the abstract in PubMed®.

Aiello Bowles EJ, Miglioretti DL, Sickles EA, et al. Accuracy of short-interval follow-up mammograms by patient and radiologist characteristics. AJR Am J Roentgenol 2008 May; 190(5):1200-8. Select to access the abstract in PubMed®.

Rosolowsky ET, Ficociello LH, Maselli NJ, et al. High-normal serum uric acid is associated with impaired glomerular filtration rate in nonproteinuric patients with type 1 diabetes. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol 2008 May; 3(3):706-13. Select to access the abstract in PubMed®.

Devine S, West SL, Andrews E, et al. Validation of neural tube defects in the full featured-General Practice Research Database. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf 2008 May; 17(5):434-44. Select to access the abstract in PubMed®.

Street RL Jr, O'Malley KJ, Cooper LA, et al. Understanding concordance in patient-physician relationships: personal and ethnic dimensions of shared identity. Ann Fam Med 2008 May-Jun; 6(3):198-205. Select to access the abstract in PubMed®.

Cheung K, Moiduddin A, Chin MH, et al. The perceived financial impact of quality improvement efforts in community health centers. J Ambul Care Manage 2008 Apr-Jun; 31(2):111-19. Select to access the abstract in PubMed®.

Contact Information

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Page last reviewed April 2009
Internet Citation: AHRQ and Ad Council Encourage Consumers to Ask Questions and Get More Involved in Their Health Care: Electronic Newsletter, Issue 274. April 2009. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.


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