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New AHRQ Guide Identifies Successful Design Methods for Development of Consumer Health IT

Electronic Newsletter, Issue 359

AHRQ's Electronic Newsletter summarizes Agency research and programmatic activities.

November 19, 2012

AHRQ Stats

The number of U.S. adults treated for asthma almost doubled between 1998-1999 and 2008-2009, from 5.5 million to 10.3 million, while asthma drug expenditures quadrupled from $2.5 billion to $10.2 billion. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, MEPS Statistical Brief #374: Changes in Adult Asthma Medication Use and Expenditures, United States, 1998-1999 to 2008-2009, and MEPS Statistical Brief #378: Asthma Medication Use among Adults with Reported Treatment for Asthma, United States, 1998-1999 and 2008-2009.]

Today's Headlines

  1. New AHRQ guide identifies successful design methods for development of consumer health IT.
  2. AHRQ releases new team training tool to improve the safety of care for nursing home residents.
  3. New findings suggest that sulfonylureas are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular events.
  4. Breathing retraining techniques may help adult asthma patients.
  5. Evidence suggests adult knee pain improves through physical therapy.
  6. New research review on methods to diagnose plasma cancers.
  7. Registration now open for TeamSTEPPS® trainings in 2013.
  8. AHRQ in the Professional Literature.

1. New AHRQ Guide Identifies Successful Design Methods for Development of Consumer Health IT

A new AHRQ guide, Designing Consumer Health IT: A Guide for Developers and Systems Designers, presents suggested recommendations for designers and developers of consumer health IT products. Recommendations include general guidance for designers and design teams on the process of designing and developing a product and guidance that is specific to a design phase such as idea generation, identification of end users, testing, and commercialization. The guide includes results of an environmental scan and grey literature review along with expert interviews to improve consumer health IT design to increase effective use. Select to access this report. 

2. AHRQ Releases New Team Training Tool to Improve the Safety of Care for Nursing Home Residents

TeamSTEPPS® for Long-Term Care, developed by AHRQ and the Department of Defense, is designed to train health care personnel in team and communication skills to reduce patient safety risks and hazards in nursing homes. It includes materials to demonstrate how to use communication tools in quality improvement projects. The tool is available in DVD format and includes PowerPoint® presentations, teaching modules, exercises, and video vignettes that can be used to train staff. Copies of the DVD are available by sending an Email to Select to access the tool. 

3. New Findings Suggest Sulfonylureas are Associated with Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Events

New research from AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program looks at the use of metformin and sulfonylureas among patients who are beginning to take oral medications to treat type 2 diabetes. In one of the first large-scale data analysis of its kind, researchers found that the use of sulfonylureas was associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events – including death – among study patients when compared with the use of metformin. Further studies would be needed to clarify whether the difference in risk is due to harms from sulfonylureas, benefits from metformin, or both. These findings, which were published in the November 6 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, support the use of metformin for first-line type 2 diabetes therapy for patients without other contraindications and contribute to the knowledge base about the cardiovascular advantages of metformin compared with sulfonylureas. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®. 

4. Breathing Retraining Techniques May Help Adult Asthma Patients

A new evidence-based review from AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program finds that complementary breathing retraining methods such as hyperventilation reduction breathing, when compared with other breathing techniques, may reduce asthma symptoms and decrease the use of quick-relief medications. Only minor harms were reported in studies. Patients considering intensive asthma-focused training should not change their use of asthma medication without consulting with their medical provider. Select to access the research review, Comparative Effectiveness of Breathing Exercises and/or Retraining Techniques in the Treatment of Asthma. 

5. Evidence Suggests Adult Knee Pain Improves Through Physical Therapy

A new research review from AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program finds that physical therapy interventions including aerobic, aquatic, strengthening, and proprioception exercise improve patient outcomes for adults with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis. Aerobic and aquatic exercise improved disability measures; aerobic and strengthening exercise reduced pain and improved function. However, no single therapy improved all outcomes. More research is needed to compare benefits and harms of combined physical therapy treatments that more closely resemble actual practice and to analyze the effects of additional treatments such as pain relievers on pain and function. Select to access the full review, Physical Therapy Interventions for Knee Pain Secondary to Osteoarthritis. 

6. New Research Review on Methods to Diagnose Plasma Cancers

A new research review from AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program found that there may not be sufficient evidence to determine whether the addition of the serum free light chain investigative procedure to traditional testing increases diagnostic accuracy for plasma cell dyscrasias or whether it helps predict disease progression. Although the procedure has been in use for a decade for diagnosis of plasma cancer, how best to incorporate it into practice remains unclear. The review, Serum-Free Light Chain Analysis for the Diagnosis, Management, and Prognosis of Plasma Cell Dyscrasias, determined that the evidence was insufficient to determine the extent to which adding the procedure to current tests would improve diagnosis, prognosis, monitoring of therapy, and treatment decisions. 

7. Registration Now Open for TeamSTEPPS® Trainings in 2013

Registration for TeamSTEPPS trainings in 2013 is now open. Select to register your team of two to four staff members. Please note the new process for registration that is explained on the home page and throughout the Web site. A total of 15 trainings will take place between January and September 2013 at the following locations: University of Washington (Seattle), University of Minnesota (Minneapolis), Tulane University (New Orleans, LA), Duke University (Durham, NC), and North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System (Manhasset, NY). Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis, so please be prepared to have each team member sign up promptly and individually in order to help ensure attendance for all team members. Please direct questions to 

8. 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 experience problems in accessing articles, ask your technical support staff for possible remedies.

Schumacher JR, Witt WP, Palta M, et al. Cancer screening of long-term cancer survivors. J Am Board Fam Med 2012 Jul-Aug; 25(4):460-9. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Dolor RJ, Masica AL, Touchette DR, et al. Patient safety-focused medication therapy management: challenges affecting future implementation. Am J Manag Care 2012 Jul 1; 18(7):e238-e244. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Yawn BP, Dietrich AJ, Wollan P, et al. TRIPPD: a practice-based network effectiveness study of postpartum depression screening and management. Ann Fam Med 2012 Jul-Aug; 10(4):320-9. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Sides E, Zimmer L, Wilson L, et al. Medication coaching program for patients with minor stroke or TIA: a pilot study. BMC Public Health 2012 Jul 25; 12(1):549. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Kohn R, Rubenfeld GD, Levy MM, et al. Rule of rescue or the good of the many? An analysis of physicians' and nurses' preferences for allocating ICU beds. Intensive Care Med 2011 Jul; 37(7):1210-17. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Gellad WF, Good CB, Amuan ME, et al. Facility-level variation in potentially inappropriate prescribing for older veterans. J Am Geriatr Soc 2012 Jul; 60(7):1222-9. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Nishisaki A, Donoghue AJ, Colborn S, et al. Development of an instrument for a primary airway provider's performance with an ICU multidisciplinary team in pediatric respiratory failure using simulation. Respir Care 2012 Jul; 57(7):1121-8. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Contact Information

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Page last reviewed November 2012
Internet Citation: New AHRQ Guide Identifies Successful Design Methods for Development of Consumer Health IT: Electronic Newsletter, Issue 359. November 2012. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.


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