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AHRQ Report Examines Patient and Family Engagement Activities

Electronic Newsletter, Issue 346

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

June 14, 2012

AHRQ Stats

Patients in the hospital for vaginal delivery experienced the following common complicating conditions at a rate of 100 or more for every 1,000 deliveries: umbilical cord complications, prolonged pregnancy, abnormal fetal heart rate, and premature rupture of membranes. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, HCUP Statistical Brief #131: Complicating Conditions of Vaginal Deliveries and Cesarean Sections, 2009.]

Today's Headlines

  1. AHRQ report examines patient and family engagement activities.
  2. AHRQ report describes software being developed to identify health IT hazards.
  3. Overweight adolescents trail obese kids in getting diet and exercise advice.
  4. Newer antidepressants equally effective in treating clinical depression.
  5. MRSA in nursing homes linked to insufficient cleaning practices.
  6. Chemotherapy may improve survival chances for elderly colon cancer patients.
  7. New research summaries available on chronic pelvic pain treatment options.
  8. New podcast series about the AHRQ Quality Indicators™ toolkit for hospitals.
  9. AHRQ in the professional literature.

1. AHRQ Report Examines Patient and Family Engagement Activities

A new AHRQ report, Guide to Patient and Family Engagement: Final Environmental Scan Report, assesses the current literature, tools, and resources being used to engage patients and their families. The report provides:

  • A framework that describes how patient and family engagement can lead to improved quality and safety.
  • A description of factors that influence patient and family engagement, including characteristics and perspectives of patients, families, health care professionals, and hospital organizational and cultural factors.
  • Hospital-based methods and materials currently being used to engage patients and families in the safety and quality of care.
  • An analysis of the kinds of materials that are needed, but do not exist.

AHRQ is using this report as the first step toward developing a patient/family engagement guide that is now being tested at three hospitals and is expected to be available in mid-2013. Select to access the environmental scan report.

2. AHRQ Report Describes Software Being Developed to Identify Health IT Hazards

AHRQ has released a new report that describes the development and testing of the Health IT Hazard Manager, a software tool that will alert users to potential health IT-related patient safety events. The Hazard Manager tool will support a wide variety of health industry professionals by helping them:

  • Discover, identify, and communicate hazards caused by health IT applications.
  • Understand the causes of health IT hazards.
  • Identify the level of urgency needed to correct a hazard.
  • Learn the impact of health IT hazards, including how they could harm patients.
  • Outline the necessary steps to correct a hazard caused by health IT applications.

Although the Hazard Manager tool is not yet available, the report, titled AHRQ's Health IT Hazard Manager Beta Test: Final Report, explains its testing period and describes the industry-wide feedback that is helping to shape the design of the tool.

3. Overweight Adolescents Trail Obese Kids in Getting Diet and Exercise Advice

Overweight U.S. adolescents are less likely than those already obese to be told by a doctor or other clinician to eat more healthful foods and exercise more, according to an AHRQ study in the June 2012 issue of Pediatrics. AHRQ's Lan Liang, Ph.D. and fellow researchers found that overweight boys and girls ages 11 to 17 were less likely than their obese counterparts to be given dietary advice during medical appointments. Roughly 53 percent of overweight girls and 44 percent of overweight boys were given dietary advice, compared with 62 percent of obese girls and 54 percent of obese boys. Data also show that 40 percent of overweight girls and 38 percent of overweight boys were advised to exercise more, compared with 53 percent of obese girls and 47 percent of obese boys. The researchers also found that boys and girls living in the Northeast or who had more highly educated parents and higher family incomes were the most likely to be given obesity counseling. They also found that both black and Hispanic adolescents had higher odds of getting advice on diet than white adolescents, but only Hispanic adolescents were more likely to receive exercise advice. According to the researchers, the low dietary and exercise counseling rate of overweight children is troubling because obesity is easier to prevent than to treat, and counseling could help prevent overweight individuals from becoming obese later in life. The researchers said their study may be the first nationally representative one of the rate of screening for overweight and obesity among adolescents as well as healthy eating and physical activity counseling by pediatric health care professionals. The researchers analyzed 2001 to 2007 data from AHRQ's Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS). The study, "Obesity Counseling by Pediatric Health Professionals: An Assessment Using Nationally Representative Data," was published online in Pediatrics on June 4. Select to access the abstract on PubMed.®

4. Newer Antidepressants Equally Effective in Treating Clinical Depression

All second-generation antidepressants are equally effective in treating clinical depression in adults, according to an updated evidence review from AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program. The review, Comparative Effectiveness of Second-Generation Antidepressants in the Pharmacologic Treatment of Adult Depression An Update to a 2007 Report, examines the comparative effectiveness and side effects of 13 second-generation antidepressants. Despite similar effectiveness, antidepressants cannot be considered identical; some differences exist among drugs around response time, side effects, and measures of health-related quality of life. Additional research is needed on patient responses to antidepressants when initial treatment is unsuccessful and when medications are changed. These findings support the original AHRQ research conclusions from 2007.

5. MRSA in Nursing Homes Linked to Insufficient Cleaning

High methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) contamination in nursing homes is linked to insufficient cleaning practices in the facilities' common areas, according to a new report funded by AHRQ and the NIH's Institute on Aging. The article, Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Burden in Nursing Homes Associated with Environmental Contamination of Common Areas, published in the June 5 online issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, finds that higher levels of MRSA were found in nursing homes where staff cleaned rooms less frequently and spent less time cleaning each room. This conclusion was further supported by the finding that facilities with more MRSA contamination in common areas tended to have higher overall MRSA levels, even when accounting for the amount of MRSA brought in by newly admitted residents. Select to access the abstract on PubMed.®

6. Chemotherapy May Improve Survival Chances for Elderly Colon Cancer Patients

Patients 75 years or older who have undergone surgery to treat stage III colon cancer may live longer if treated with supplemental chemotherapy, according to new research from AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program. While 40 percent of all people diagnosed with colon cancer are 75 years or older, and they account for half of all colorectal cancer deaths, elderly patients and their physicians lack clear standards to guide treatment decisions. As a result, the use of any chemotherapy option drops off quickly with advancing age. Findings suggest that clinicians should consider using supplemental chemotherapy for colon cancer patients older than 75 while assessing individual risks and preferences. Select to access the abstract of the June 4 online issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology article, Effect of Adjuvant Chemotherapy on Survival of Patients with Stage III Colon Cancer Diagnosed After 75 Years on PubMed.®

7. New Research Summaries Available on Chronic Pelvic Pain Treatment Options

AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program has release new consumer and clinician research summaries on noncyclic chronic pelvic pain. The consumer summary, Treating Unidentified Chronic Pelvic Pain, and clinician summary, Effectiveness of Treatments for Noncyclic Chronic Pelvic Pain in Adult Women, describe available evidence on chronic pelvic pain for patients and health care professionals to use when comparing treatment options. The publications are based on the review, Noncyclic Chronic Pelvic Pain Therapies for Women: Comparative Effectiveness, which found that little evidence supports a surgical approach, despite the frequent use of invasive surgical procedures to treat women with chronic pelvic pain. In conjuntion with the review and summareies, a new CME activity and faculty slide set are available on this topic.

8. New Podcast Series about the AHRQ Quality Indicators™ Toolkit for Hospitals

A new series of seven 10-minute audio interviews features hospital experts explaining how to use the quality improvement tools in the AHRQ Quality Indicators™ Toolkit for Hospitals. The toolkit is a free resource to guide hospitals through the process of using the AHRQ Inpatient Quality Indicators and Patient Safety Indicators to improve care. Select to listen to any of these interviews and check out the toolkit. Also available are slide presentations and an audio recording from an introductory Web conference about the toolkit. Select for general information on the AHRQ Quality Indicators.

9. AHRQ in the Professional Literature

We are providing the following hyperlinks to journal abstracts through PubMed® for your convenience. Access to the abstracts may be blocked because of firewalls or specific settings on individual computer systems. If you are having problems, ask your technical support staff for possible remedies.

Huybrechts KF, Schneeweiss S, Gerhard T, et al. Comparative safety of antipsychotic medications in nursing home residents. J Am Geriatr Soc 2012 Feb 13 [Epub ahead of print.] Select to access the abstract on PubMed.®

Chen PG, Curry LA, Nunez-Smith M, et al. Career satisfaction in primary care: a comparison of international and US medical graduates. J Gen Intern Med 2012 Feb; 27(2):147-52. Select to access the abstract on PubMed.®

Newman RE, Hedican EB, Herigon JC, et al. Impact of a guideline on management of children hospitalized with community-acquired pneumonia. Pediatrics 2012 Feb 20 [Epub ahead of print.] Select to access the abstract on PubMed.®

Curtis JR, Yang S, Chen L, et al. Predicting low disease activity and remission using early treatment response to antitumour necrosis factor therapy in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: exploratory analyses from the TEMPO trial. Ann Rheum Dis 2012 Feb; 71(2):206-12. Select to access the abstract on PubMed.®

ElBardissi AW, Aranki SF, Sheng S, et al. Trends in isolated coronary artery bypass grafting: an analysis of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons adult cardiac surgery database. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2012 Feb; 143(2):273-81. Select to access the abstract on PubMed.®

Redmann AJ, Brasel KJ, Alexander CG, et al. Use of advance directives for high-risk operations: a national survey of surgeons. Ann Surg 2012 Mar; 255(3):418-23. 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 October 2014
Internet Citation: AHRQ Report Examines Patient and Family Engagement Activities: Electronic Newsletter, Issue 346. October 2014. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.


The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


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