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New Study Finds E-Prescribing Is Safe and Efficient, but Barriers Remain

Electronic Newsletter, Issue 330

The AHRQ Electronic Newsletter is issued periodically and summarizes Agency research and programmatic activities.

December 2, 2011

AHRQ News and Numbers

The overall proportion of Americans age 65 and older who have ever been vaccinated against pneumonia, a leading killer of seniors, increased from 53 percent to 60 percent between 2000 and 2008. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2010 National Healthcare Quality Report, Chapter 2.]

Today's Headlines

  1. New study finds e-prescribing is safe and efficient, but barriers remain.
  2. Toma las riendas live chat on Facebook on December 7.
  3. New health IT funding opportunity on advancing health services through system modeling research.
  4. AHRQ's Innovations Exchange focuses on patient engagement.
  5. New Data Points report on use of antihypertensive drugs among Medicare beneficiaries is available.
  6. AHRQ releases first primary care workforce facts and stats series.
  7. AHRQ in the professional literature.

1. New Study Finds E-Prescribing Is Safe and Efficient, but Barriers Remain

Physician practices and pharmacies generally were positive about the electronic transmission of new prescriptions, but prescription renewals, connectivity between physician offices and mail-order pharmacies, and manual entry of certain prescription information continue to pose problems, a new AHRQ-funded study concludes. The study, "Transmitting and processing electronic prescriptions: Experiences of physician practices and pharmacies," was published online on November 18 in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. The study was based on interviews with representatives of 97 organizations, including 24 physician practices, 48 community pharmacies, and three mail-order pharmacies using e-prescribing. Researchers focused on how e-prescribing is being used for new prescriptions and renewals, the barriers to use, effects on pharmacies' prescription processing, and strategies to support more effective use of these features. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

2. Toma las Riendas Live Chat on Facebook December 7

AHRQ continues to raise awareness of the Spanish-language patient education materials available through its Effective Health Care Program. On December 7, from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., ET, AHRQ will host a live chat with AHRQ's Dr. Ileana Ponce-Gonzalez on its Spanish-language Facebook page. Exit Disclaimer The chat will address questions about treatment options for Type 2 diabetes, the differences between an various medicines for treating high blood pressure, and the effectiveness of surgery for treating gastroesophageal reflux disease. Interested participants are encouraged to post questions on the Facebook wall before the chat or submit them to Questions will also be accepted during the chat. This Facebook live chat is part of AHRQ's recently launched Toma las Riendas campaign, a nationwide effort to encourage Hispanics to take control of their health and explore treatment options. Select to learn more about this initiative. Exit Disclaimer

3. New Health IT Funding Opportunity on Advancing Health Services through System Modeling Research

AHRQ, in collaboration with the National Science Foundation (NSF), will accept and review investigator-initiated proposals that address systems modeling in health services research. The NSF's Service Enterprise Systems program in the Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation division of the Engineering Directorate will be the lead program on this interdisciplinary topic. Through this partnership, AHRQ and NSF look to foster new collaborations among health services researchers and industrial and systems engineers with a specific emphasis on the supportive role of health IT. Proposals are due by February 15, 2012. Select for more information on how to submit a proposal.

4. AHRQ's Innovations Exchange Focuses on Patient Engagement

The latest topic featured on AHRQ's Health Care Innovations Exchange highlights profiles of two programs that led to greater patient engagement and improved outcomes among vulnerable populations. One program, implemented in rural western Virginia by the Ryan White Program at the University of Virginia Infectious Disease Clinic, provided patients with text message reminders to encourage them to access HIV/AIDS primary care, take medications, keep clinic appointments, and refill prescriptions. During the small, 6-month pilot study, individuals receiving text messages experienced a significant improvement in quality of life and were more likely to remain in care. Select to read about more innovations related to patient engagement on the Innovations Exchange Web site, which contains more than 650 searchable innovations and 1,625 searchable QualityTools.

5. New Data Points Report on Use of Antihypertensive Drugs Among Medicare Beneficiaries Is Available

A new Data Points report, Utilization of Antihypertensive Drug Classes Among Medicare Beneficiaries with Hypertension, 2007 to 2009, is available. This report explores the prevalence of hypertension and utilization of antihypertensive drugs among Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries from 2007 to 2009, as well as the costs of antihypertensive drugs.
Select to access the new report.

6. AHRQ Releases First Primary Care Workforce Facts and Stats Series

To further inform policy discussions around the U.S. primary care workforce, AHRQ's Center for Primary Care, Prevention, and Clinical Partnerships has released the first two in a series of fact sheets to provide health care policy and decisionmakers with information on:

  • The primary care workforce in place currently in the United States.
  • Its capacity to care for the current U.S. population.
  • Needed growth in this workforce to accommodate population changes and expanded health insurance coverage.

The two fact sheets available now are:

  • The Number of Practicing Primary Care Physicians in the U.S., which reports that, of the 624,434 physicians who spend the majority of their time in direct patient care, slightly less than one-third are in primary care.
  • The Number of Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants Practicing Primary Care in the U.S., which estimates that, in 2010, approximately 56,000 nurse practitioners and 30,000 physician assistants were practicing primary care.

AHRQ commissioned the Robert Graham Center—a non-partisan primary care policy and analysis organization—to conduct a comprehensive primary care workforce analysis that includes secondary analyses of several workforce, population, and health outcome data sources. During the coming months, AHRQ will release additional Primary Care Workforce Fact Sheets examining topics such as:

  • The distribution of the U.S. primary care workforce.
  • Patient panel sizes in primary care.
  • Primary care workforce needs due to changes in population growth, demographic and other factors.

Select to access the U.S. Primary Care Workforce Facts and Stats Series.

7. 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.

Haukoos JS, Hopkins E, Hull A, et al. HIV testing in emergency departments in the United States: a national survey. Ann Emerg Med 2011 Jul; 58(1):S10-S16.e1-e8. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Liss DT, Chubak J, Anderson ML. Patient-reported care coordination: associations with primary care continuity and specialty care use. Ann Fam Med 2011 Jul-Aug; 9(4):323-9. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Glance LG, Stone PW, Mukamel DB, et al. Increases in mortality, length of stay, and cost associated with hospital-acquired infections in trauma patients. Arch Surg 2011 Jul; 146(7):794-801. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Park J, Werner RM. Changes in the relationship between nursing home financial performance and quality of care under public reporting. Health Econ 2011 Jul; 20(7):783-801. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Pandhi N, Devoe JE, Schumacher JR, et al. Preventive service gains from first contact access in the primary care home. J Am Board Fam Med 2011 Jul-Aug; 24(4):351-9. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Lapane KL, Hughes CM, Daiello LA, et al. Effect of a pharmacist-led multicomponent intervention focusing on the medication monitoring phase to prevent potential adverse drug events in nursing homes. J Am Geriatr Soc 2011 Jul; 59(7):1238-45. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Shaikh U, Nettiksimmons J, Romano P. Pediatric obesity management in rural clinics in California and the role of telehealth in distance education. J Rural Health 2011 Jun; 27(3):263-9. 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.

If you have questions about AHRQ's activities, please try to find the answers by checking our Home Page, where we have established links to various topical areas. Also check the News & Information section and Frequently Asked Questions. You may also Browse the Web Site. These features are designed to assist you in obtaining the information you are seeking.

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Page last reviewed December 2011
Internet Citation: New Study Finds E-Prescribing Is Safe and Efficient, but Barriers Remain: Electronic Newsletter, Issue 330. December 2011. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.


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