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National Awards Program to Recognize Achievements in Eliminating Healthcare-Associated Infections

Electronic Newsletter, Issue 303

Electronic Newsletter

January 7, 2011

AHRQ News and Numbers

More than a quarter million women who gave birth in U.S. hospitals in 2008 had pre-existing diabetes or developed it during their pregnancy—a condition called gestational diabetes.  Hospital costs associated with deliveries by women with pre-existing diabetes were 55 percent higher ($6,000) and for women with gestational diabetes they were 18 percent more expensive ($4,500) than for women who didn't have diabetes ($3,800).  [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, HCUP Statistical Brief #102, Hospitalizations Related to Diabetes in Pregnancy, 2008.]

Today's Headlines

  1. National awards program to recognize achievements in eliminating healthcare-associated infections—applications due January 29.
  2. AHRQ's Health Care Innovations Exchange offers innovative solutions to caring for women with gestational diabetes.
  3. New Federal resources help hospitals plan, carry out, and evaluate emergency preparedness exercises.
  4. AHRQ health IT portfolio 2009 annual report now available.
  5. AHRQ seeks submissions by February 15 for Nursing Home Survey on Patient Safety Culture comparative database.
  6. Surgeon General invites public comments on draft National Prevention Strategy.
  7. Task Force seeks public comments on screening, behavioral counseling, and pharmacologic interventions in primary care to reduce unhealthy alcohol use.
  8. AHRQ in the professional literature.

1. National Awards Program to Recognize Achievements in Eliminating Healthcare-Associated Infections—Applications due January 29

HHS recently announced an awards program to recognize critical care teams and healthcare institutions that achieve excellence and sustained improvement in preventing healthcare-associated infections, specifically, central line-associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI) and ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP), two areas of focus for AHRQ patient safety research. The goal of this program is to motivate healthcare and public health communities to achieve wide-scale reduction of HAIs and progress toward their elimination. HHS has worked in partnership with the Critical Care Societies Collaborative to administer these awards at two levels in mid- 2011:

  • The Outstanding Leadership Award will recognize systems of excellence that result in sustained success over at least 25 months in the prevention or elimination of CLABSI and/or VAP, as well as national leadership in sharing and disseminating information.
  • The Sustained Improvement Award will recognize progress in implementing systems showing sustained and consistent reductions over a period of 18 to 24 months.

Applicants must be a unit, hospital, team, enterprise, or healthcare system of any size and in any geographic location that provides care for critically ill patients and has at least one team member who belongs to one of the CCSC member organizations. Select to learn more about the HHS awards program. Deadline for submitting applications is January 29.

2. AHRQ's Health Care Innovations Exchange Offers Innovative Solutions to Caring for Women with Gestational Diabetes

Approximately 7 percent of pregnancies in the United States are complicated by gestational diabetes, which is a risk factor for developing Type 2 diabetes. AHRQ's Health Care Innovations Exchange offers health care professionals practical tools to educate themselves and pregnant women about gestational diabetes, and for caring for women with gestational diabetes during and after pregnancy. The Innovations Exchange also offers innovative approaches to addressing high-risk pregnancies that can lead to premature babies and other complications.

  • The Partners in Pregnancy program provides telephone case management and periodic home visits from registered nurses to pregnant women with Type 2 diabetes or other risk factors receiving Medicaid benefits.
  • A Medicaid managed care plan uses cell phone text messaging to send members with Type 2 diabetes monthly educational messages and appointment reminders for glucose testing. This program has been expanded to pregnant women to educate and remind them about pre-and post-natal care.

Additional innovations related to Type 2 diabetes and pregnancy are available on the Innovations Exchange Web site, a searchable database of more than 500 innovations and 1550 Quality Tools.

3. New Federal Resources Help Hospitals Plan, Carry Out, and Evaluate Emergency Preparedness Exercises

AHRQ has released a set of new resources to help hospital emergency planners plan, conduct, and evaluate exercises to prepare for emergencies. The Hospital Preparedness Exercises: Atlas of Resources and Tools is a compendium of resources and tools, categorized by key features and with detailed descriptions; the Hospital Preparedness Exercises Guidebook is a resource guide designed to assist in the process of planning, conducting, and evaluating hospital preparedness exercises; and the Hospital Preparedness Exercises Pocket Guide is a quick reference for hospital preparedness planners. These resources are designed to meet the needs of both accredited and unaccredited hospitals, ranging from acute care to critical access. They were developed by AHRQ in conjunction with researchers at Cornell University's Weill College of Medicine as part of the National Hospital Preparedness Program. Select to access these resources.

4. AHRQ Health Information Technology (Health IT) Portfolio 2009 Annual Report Now Available

The AHRQ health IT portfolio's 2009 annual report and project summaries is now available. The report is published in an abridged version which provides an overview of the Health IT Portfolio, and a comprehensive version which includes the overview and 180 individual summaries of all AHRQ health IT-funded grants and contracts that were active in 2009. Each summary provides an overview of the projects' long-term objectives, status updates on specific aims, descriptions of completed and ongoing project activities and various categories, such as the target population and strategic and business goals of the project. The AHRQ National Resource Center for Health IT (NRC) Web site offers the ability to search the project summaries by various categories under AHRQ funded-projects. Project summaries were also developed for grants which ended in 2007 and updated for projects which ended in 2008. Final grant reports for grants which ended in 2007, 2008, and 2009 are also available at the AHRQ Health IT Web site.

5. AHRQ Seeks Submissions by February 15 for Nursing Home Survey on Patient Safety Culture Comparative Database

AHRQ's Nursing Home Survey on Patient Safety Culture is a tool for nursing homes to use to assess provider and staff opinions about the culture of patient safety in their nursing homes. Nursing homes that have administered the AHRQ survey can soon register and submit their data to the new Nursing Home Survey on Patient Safety Culture Comparative Database, between January 15 and February 15. The database is a central repository for survey data from nursing homes, systems/chains, or survey vendors that have administered the AHRQ nursing home survey instrument. One of the purposes of the database is to produce comparative results to help nursing homes identify strengths and opportunities for improvement in their patient safety culture.

6. Surgeon General Invites Public Comments on Draft National Prevention Strategy

The U.S. Surgeon General invites public comment on the draft recommendations for the National Prevention Strategy. The National Prevention, Health Promotion and Public Health Council (National Prevention Council) was created by the Affordable Care Act and is in the process of developing a first-ever National Prevention Strategy. Select to learn more about the Council. Draft Recommendations, which are overarching priorities with a focus on communities, have been posted online for public comment. Comments will be accepted until January 13.

7. Task Force Seeks Public Comments on Screening, Behavioral Counseling, and Pharmacologic Interventions in Primary Care to Reduce Unhealthy Alcohol Use

Through a partnership with AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is inviting public comment on the key questions of the evidence on screening, behavioral counseling, and pharmacologic interventions in primary care to reduce unhealthy alcohol use. Select to provide comments. As the Task Force works to increase the transparency of its methods and processes, additional opportunities for public comment will be available. Information about these opportunities will be posted on the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Web site.

 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.

Brown TM, Voeks JH, Bittner V, et al. Variations in prevalent cardiovascular disease and future risk by metabolic syndrome classification in the REasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study. Am Heart J 2010 Mar; 159(3):385-91. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Dimick JB, Osborne NH, Hall BL, et al. Risk adjustment for comparing hospital quality with surgery: how many variables are needed? J Am Coll Surg 2010 Apr; 210(4):503-8. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Fontaine P, Zink T, Boyle RG, et al. Health information exchange: participation by Minnesota primary care practices. Arch Intern Med 2010 Apr 12; 170(7):622-29. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Cruz M, Pincus HA, Welsh DE, et al. The relationship between religious involvement and clinical status of patients with bipolar disorder. Bipolar Disord 2010 Feb; 12(1):68-76. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Ho PM, Tsai TT, Wang TY, Shetterly SM, Clarke CL, Go AS, Sedrakyan A, et al. Adverse events after stopping clopidogrel in post-acute coronary syndrome patients: insights from a large integrated healthcare delivery system. Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes 2010 Mar 30. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Fischer MA, Stedman MR, Lii J, et al. Primary medication non-adherence: analysis of 195,930 electronic prescriptions. J Gen Intern Med 2010 Apr; 25(4):284-90. 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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Page last reviewed January 2011
Internet Citation: National Awards Program to Recognize Achievements in Eliminating Healthcare-Associated Infections: Electronic Newsletter, Issue 303. January 2011. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.


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