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EHC Inside Track Newsletter

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Issue 20, January 2014

EHC Inside Track is a newsletter highlighting important news and developments from AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program.

In this issue:

New Videos, Web Pages Offer Treatment Info for Spanish-Speaking Patients

Videos, a Facebook page, and a new text-messaging program are among the tools now available to connect Spanish-speaking patients to evidence-based information about treatment options for dozens of health conditions. Tomas las riendas, a new Spanish-language Web site for consumers.

The "Toma las riendas" ("Take the reins") Web page, launched this fall, showcases Spanish-language resources to help patients take a greater role in their health care by exploring the benefits and harms of different treatment options and preparing for their next medical appointment.

The new Web page offers three Spanish-language animated videos—one for newly diagnosed patients, one for those considering other choices, and one for those who are caring for a loved one. Each video encourages viewers to access AHRQ’s unbiased treatment information to have an informed conversation with their health care team.

Also featured are links to information about treatments for cardiovascular conditions; diabetes; mental health conditions; muscle, bone and joint conditions; and other health issues.

To encourage use of existing Spanish-language research summaries for clinicians and patients, AHRQ has also launched a Facebook page and a Spanish-language text messaging program. For other AHRQ Spanish-language tools, go to

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New Discussion Topics Added to Online Nurses Forum

The online forum – launched this fall to increase interaction between nurses and AHRQ’s Effective Health Care (EHC) Program – has added two new discussion topics.

The AHRQ Effective Health Care Program Forum on provides nurse practitioners, nurses, and other health providers a chance to explore and discuss how comparative effectiveness research can help them and their patients work together to treat a health condition.

One recently added forum discussion, “Pressure Ulcers: Two New Reports from the EHC Program,” highlights pressure ulcer treatment strategies and pressure ulcer risk assessment and prevention. Pressure ulcers are painful, expensive to treat, and a common condition that places more time demands on nurses and the health care team.

Another forum showcases two new Web resources that are central to AHRQ’s effort to expand awareness and use of EHC Program research findings:

  • The Clinical Bottom Line Web page connects health care professionals to time-saving publications that summarize the evidence on treatment options for more than 60 clinical conditions ranging from depression to autism spectrum disorders. These EHC Program research summaries offer the “Clinical Bottom Line” on both the benefits and harms of treatments while identifying the strength of evidence behind each key finding.
  • The companion Treatment Options initiative Web page was developed for patients and caregivers with input from partner organizations representing physicians, nurses, pharmacists, consumer advocates, and others.

The online forum is part of AHRQ’s commitment to support the use of evidence-based resources to improve patient care. AHRQ also has formed a nurses working group to increase nurses’ involvement in generating new research topics, sharing research findings, and spreading the word about the EHC Program’s tools and resources.

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More Resources From the Effective Health Care Program

New treatment summaries help clinicians and their patients learn about the evidence on treatment options and compare their effectiveness, benefits, and risks.

Bariatric Surgery for Treating Diabetes

New consumer summary for bariatric surgery.

New publications available from AHRQ's EHC Program summarize the evidence on the effectiveness of bariatric surgery in treating diabetes in moderately obese patients. Summary materials highlight the pros and cons of bariatric surgery and the implications for weight loss and treating diabetes. Available resources include—

New Research Reviews Comparing Treatment Options

Multi-component Dissemination Strategies: Effective in Supporting the Use of Health Related Evidence

Multi-component dissemination strategies that address a combination of reach, ability, or motivation, appear to be more effective than one strategy alone in affecting change in clinicians’ behaviors, particularly clinician guideline adherence, according to a new research review by AHRQ’s Effective Health Care Program. However, there is insufficient evidence to determine the comparative effectiveness of various dissemination strategies. Expanding investment in comparative effectiveness research of communication, implementation, and dissemination strategies is needed to help identify strategies most likely to aid effective translation of health care evidence and provide benefit to the patient and clinician. These findings can be found in the research review Communication and Dissemination Strategies to Facilitate the Use of Health Related Evidence.

Heart Conditions: Biomarkers BNP and NT-proBNP in Heart Failure Patients

According to a recent research review from AHRQ, in both emergency and primary care settings, the biomarkers B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) and N-terminal proBNP (NT-proBNP) have good diagnostic performance to rule out, but lesser performance to rule in, the diagnosis of heart failure because of a high sensitivity and low specificity of the test.

The review finds that, in patients with decompensated or chronic stable heart failure, higher levels of BNP and NT-proBNP are associated with a greater risk of morbidity and mortality. The majority of studies assessing prognosis showed associations between BNP and NT-proBNP and mortality, morbidity, and outcomes across different time intervals in patients with decompensated and chronic stable heart failure. However, the clinical utility of using multi-factor prognostic scoring needs to be designed and evaluated before this becomes an established clinical tool. The review also finds an association exists between NT-proBNP and the outcomes of morbidity and mortality in the general population. There is a low strength of evidence that BNP/NT-proBNP-guided therapy reduces all-cause mortality when compared with usual care. Because expression of these biomarkers is highly variable in individual patients with and without heart failure, serial measurements should be interpreted with caution. Additional studies are needed to confirm the diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic value of these biomarkers in patients with heart failure. These findings and others can be found in the full review Use of Natriuretic Peptide Measurement in the Management of Heart Failure.

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Page last reviewed January 2014
Internet Citation: EHC Program Inside Track Newsletter. January 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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