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New AHRQ Reviews Examine Screening for and Treatment of Hepatitis C Virus

Electronic Newsletter, Issue 360

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

December 5, 2012

AHRQ Stats

Nursing home patients are 1.7 times more likely than other elderly patients to be admitted to hospitals for septicemia, a bloodstream infection. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, HCUP Statistical Brief #141: Transitions between Nursing Homes and Hospitals in the Elderly Population, 2009.]

Today's Headlines

  1. New AHRQ reviews examine screening for and treatment of hepatitis C virus
  2. Developer of mobile platform wins patient safety events reporting challenge
  3. AHRQ review evaluates treatment options for plaque psoriasis
  4. Leg amputations for peripheral artery disease declining for seniors
  5. Highlight from AHRQ's Research Activities monthly newsletter
  6. AHRQ in the professional literature

1. New AHRQ Reviews Examine Screening for and Treatment of Hepatitis C Virus

Screening strategies for the hepatitis C virus (HCV) can accurately identify adults with the disease, but more research is needed to understand the effects of targeted screening strategies in adults, according to a new research review from AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program. Evidence remains limited on the effects of knowing one's HCV status on clinical health outcomes. These findings can be found in the full review, Screening for Hepatitis C Virus Infection in Adults. A separate review found that patients with HCV who achieve a sustained virologic response (SVR), or undetectable leels of the virus 6 months after completing treatment, appears to have a decreased risk of death when compared with those without this response. HCV is the most common chronic bloodborne pathogen in the United States and is associated with an estimated 15,000 deaths each year. The review also compared the effectiveness of dual-and triple-drug combinations in achieving SVR. These findings and future research needs are summarized in Treatment of Hepatitis C Virus Infection in Adults: A Comparative Effectiveness Review.


2. Developer of Mobile Platform Wins Patient Safety Events Reporting Challenge

KBCore, a Houston-based company that has developed a platform that allows reporting of patient safety events from any mobile device or electronic health records, has been named the winner of the Reporting Patient Safety Events Challenge sponsored by AHRQ, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), and the Food and Drug Administration. The company won the $50,000 award because its patient safety reporting system best fit the criteria of the Challenge to identify and reduce patient safety risks. The Challenge called on developers to create an application using AHRQ's Common Formats for Patient Safety Event Reporting that would simplify internal incident reporting of adverse health care events, expand the utility of reports among the care team, and increase the volume and accuracy of reports to the patient safety reporting system. Reports allow Patient Safety Organizations and providers to collect, aggregate, and analyze data, with the goal of improving the safety of health care. Select to learn more about the winners and their submissions.


3. AHRQ Review Evaluates Treatment Options for Plaque Psoriasis

Insufficient evidence is available to compare the effectiveness of different types of therapies for plaque psoriasis, according to a new research review from AHRQ's Effective health Care Program. Therapies include biologic and nonbiologic agents and phototherapy. When comparing health measures such as quality of life, spread and severity of the disease, and physician and patient assessments of disease severity, limited evidence indicates the benefit of treatment with biologic agents versus nonbiologic agents. Additional clinical trials are needed to compare the effectiveness and tolerability of these types of treatments and to determine which types of patients may respond best to specific treatments. These findings can be found in the full review, Biologic and Nonbiologic Systemic Agents and Phototherapy for Treatment of Chronic Plaque Psoriasis.


4. Leg Amputations for Peripheral Artery Disease Declining for Seniors

Amputations decreased significantly among patients 65 and older with lower-extremity peripheral artery disease from 2000 to 2008, a new AHRQ-funded study shows. The incidence rate declined from 7,258 per 100,000 patients in 2000 to 5,790 per 100,000 patients in 2008. The authors suggest that better detection practices for vascular disease and improved revascularization treatment may account for the significant decline. The analysis, based on CMS fee-for-service Medicare data, also showed significant patient and geographic variation in amputation rates across the United States. The study, "Temporal Trends and Geographic Variation of Lower-Extremity Amputation in Patients With Peripheral Artery Disease: Results from US. Medicare 2000-2008," was published online October 24 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.


5. Highlights from AHRQ's Research Activities Monthly Newsletter

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

  • Seniors learn some things from prescription drug advertisements, but can also be misled.

Direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs is currently only permitted in the United States and New Zealand, where it remains controversial. Proponents claim that advertisements help inform consumers and facilitate their involvement in clinical decisions about prescription drugs. A study examined seniors' perceptions of television ads to understand how the ads might help consumers make informed decisions about prescription drugs. Select to read this article.

Other articles include:

  • Improving care for patient with disabilities.
  • Patient decision aids can reduce uncertainty in decisions about whether to undergo total knee replacement.
  • Physicians optimistic about potential for electronic prescribing but barriers to adoption still exist.

Select to read these articles and others.


6. AHRQ in the Professional Literature

Ryan A, Burgess J, Strawderman R, et al. What is the best way to estimate hospital quality outcomes? A simulation approach. Health Serv Res 2012 Aug; 47(4):1699-1718. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Krans EE, Chang JC. Low-income African American women's beliefs regarding exercise during pregnancy. Matern Child Health J 2012 Aug; 16(6):1180-7. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Wright DB. Consumer governance and the provision of enabling services that facilitate access to care at community health centers. Med Care 2012 Aug; 50(8):668-75. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Sarpong EM, Bernard DM, Miller GE. Changes in pharmaceutical treatment of diabetes and family financial burdens. Med Care Res Rev 2012 Aug; 69(4):474-91. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Olfson M, Blanco C, Liu SM, et al. National trends in the office-based treatment of children, adolescents, and adults with antipsychotics. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2012 Aug 6. [Epub ahead of print.] Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Hsia RY, Asch SM, Weiss RE, et al. California hospitals serving large minority populations were more likely than others to employ ambulance diversion. Health Aff 2012 Aug; 31(8):1767-76. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Sudore RL, Karter AJ, Huang ES, et al. Symptom burden of adults with type 2 diabetes across the disease course: Diabetes & Aging Study. J Gen Intern Med 2012 Aug 2. [Epub ahead of print.] Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Lorch SA, Baiocchi M, Ahlberg CE, et al. The differential impact of delivery hospital on the outcomes of premature infants. Pediatrics 2012 Aug; 130(2):270-8. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Contact Information

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Page last reviewed December 2012
Internet Citation: New AHRQ Reviews Examine Screening for and Treatment of Hepatitis C Virus: Electronic Newsletter, Issue 360. December 2012. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.


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