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AHRQ Releases New Medication Reconciliation Tool for Hospitals

Electronic Newsletter, Issue 331

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

December 9, 2011

AHRQ News and Numbers

The average cost of a hospital stay grew more quickly for patients age 64 and younger than it did for the elderly between 1997 and 2009. The cost of a stay in a community hospital during this period increased by 4 percent per year for patients 64 and younger, and by 3 percent per year for those 65 and older. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, HCUP Statistical Brief #123: Components of Growth in Inpatient Hospital Costs, 1997-2009.]

Today's Headlines

  1. AHRQ releases new medication reconciliation tool for hospitals.
  2. AHRQ's Innovations Exchange focuses on partnerships to improve care coordination.
  3. AHRQ redesigns long-term care Web page.
  4. New funding opportunity on research centers in primary care practice based research and learning.
  5. Highlights from our most recent monthly newsletter.
  6. AHRQ in the professional literature.

1. AHRQ Releases New Medication Reconciliation Tool for Hospitals

AHRQ has released a new toolkit to help hospitals improve their medication reconciliation processes to reduce adverse drug events. The Medications at Transitions and Clinical Handoffs (MATCH) Toolkit provides step-by-step instructions on how to improve a medication reconciliation process, from planning to pilot testing, implementation, and evaluation. A workbook is included that helps users implement the Toolkit. Select to access the MATCH Toolkit.

2. AHRQ's Innovations Exchange Focuses on Partnerships to Improve Care Coordination

The December 7 issue of AHRQ's Health Care Innovations Exchange features profiles of two programs that have implemented strategic partnerships to improve care coordination for seniors and veterans. One such program, the Cathedral Square Support and Services in Burlington, VT, provides a range of services to help senior citizens and other Medicare beneficiaries remain in their homes. A multidisciplinary, onsite health team conducts an initial assessment and creates an individualized care plan, coordinates nursing care and other services, and provides community activities to support health and wellness. A year-long pilot test with 65 residents showed the program reduced hospital admissions and readmissions, decreased falls, improved nutritional status, and increased levels of physical activity. Select to read more innovations about partnerships and care coordination on the Innovations Exchange Web site. The Innovations Exchange contains more than 650 searchable innovations and 1,625 searchable QualityTools.

3. AHRQ Redesigns Long-Term Care Web Page

AHRQ has modified to its Long-Term Care landing page to make it more user-friendly and easier to navigate. The site now highlights recent information, such as AHRQ's new tool promoting exercise in older adults, Staying Healthy Through Education and Prevention (STEP Guide) and a link to Go4Life, a complementary tool recently released by NIH's National Institute on Aging that also emphasizes the benefits of keeping older adults active. 

4. New AHRQ Funding Opportunity on Research Centers in Primary Care Practice Based Research and Learning

AHRQ has released a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) soliciting Center Core grant applications from organizations with a track record of success in conducting research in primary care practice-based research networks (PBRNs). Each research center must have at least 120 primary care member practices organized around shared resources and research infrastructure. These centers will foster a highly collaborative, interdisciplinary research environment. AHRQ is particularly interested in supporting center infrastructure that will accelerate both the generation of new knowledge and a community of learning for primary care practices to improve quality, patient safety and effectiveness of care. AHRQ intends to publish future "rapid-cycle" FOAs describing research projects that will be limited to funded centers because of the cohesive infrastructure required to respond to these rapid-cycle funding opportunities. Applications are due by January 26, 2012. Select for more information to submit application.

5. Highlights from Most Recent Monthly Newsletter

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

  • Evidence-based strategies substantially reduce the incidence of ventilator-associated pneumonia in ICUs.

    Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is a significant and common cause of patient sickness and death, as well as increased health care costs. A new study found that an intervention to boost the use of five evidence-based strategies to reduce VAP accomplished just that. In 112 intensive care units (ICUs), the overall median VAP rate declined from an average of 6.9 to 3.4 cases per 1,000 ventilator days at 16-18 months after implementation of the intervention. There was a further decrease from 3.4 to 2.4 cases from 16-18 months to 28-30 months. Compliance with evidence-based therapies increased from 32 percent at baseline to 75 percent at 16-18 months after implementation to 84 percent at 28-30 months. Select to read this article.


Other articles include:

  • Many challenges remain in the design and use of consumer health informatics interventions.
  • Hospital boards adopt practices to enhance oversight on quality of care.
  • Overweight or obese patients have higher health care expenditures.
  • The increase in pediatric stimulant use since 1996 mostly linked to treatment of ADHD in adolescents.

Select to read these articles and others.

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.

Nuckols TK, Aledort JE, Adams J, et al. Cost implications of improving blood pressure management among U.S. adults. Health Serv Res 2011 Aug; 46(4):1124-57. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Thorpe CT, Flood GE, Kraft SA, et al. Effect of patient selection method on provider group performance estimates. Med Care 2011 Aug; 49(8):780-5. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Abramson EL, Malhotra S, Fischer K, et al. Transitioning between electronic health records: effects on ambulatory prescribing safety. J Gen Intern Med 2011 Aug; 26(8):868-74. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

LeMasters T, Sambamoorthi U. A national study of out-of-pocket expenditures for mammography screening. J Womens Health 2011 Aug 17. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Johnson KB, Lee CK, Spooner SA, et al. Automated dose-rounding recommendations for pediatric medications. Pediatrics 2011 Aug; 128(2):e422-e428. 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.

This service is provided to you at no charge by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Page last reviewed December 2011
Internet Citation: AHRQ Releases New Medication Reconciliation Tool for Hospitals: Electronic Newsletter, Issue 331. December 2011. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.


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