In this issue:
New AHRQ Projects Will Use PCOR To Support Primary Care Practices
Two new funding opportunity announcements from AHRQ underscore the Agency’s commitment to support using patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR) in primary care. The efforts will emphasize the use of PCOR research findings to support the goals of the Federal Million Hearts® campaign to reduce strokes and heart attacks.
The first funding opportunity announcement will support up to eight regional cooperatives that will use evidence-based quality improvement techniques and PCOR findings to support appropriate aspirin therapy, blood pressure control, cholesterol management, and smoking cessation—the “ABCS” of heart health. While the cooperatives will initially emphasize heart health, the projects will be designed to expand capacities to promote PCOR findings in other clinical areas. AHRQ will invest up to $120 million in these initiatives over 3 years. The funding announcement for the project, Accelerating the Dissemination and Implementation of PCOR Findings Into Primary Care Practice, can be found here.
The second announcement solicits a robust, external evaluation of the cooperatives to discover if and how practice support can best be used to disseminate and implement PCOR findings in primary care practice. The funding announcement for that project, Evaluation of AHRQ Initiative To Accelerate the Dissemination and Implementation of PCOR Findings Into Primary Care, can be found here.
PCOR is defined as comparative clinical effectiveness research of the impact on health outcomes of two or more preventive, diagnostic, treatment, or health care delivery approaches. PCOR produces not only clinical findings but also evidence about the effectiveness of how health care is delivered.
AHRQ expects that the grants will be funded in early 2015. A technical assistance call to provide background and address applicants’ questions is scheduled for April 24, 2014. Letters of intent are due May 23, 2014, and applications are due July 3, 2014 Applicants must specifically work with primary care practices to propose a comprehensive approach that uses evidence-based quality improvement strategies. This initiative was planned and developed in coordination with agencies across the Department of Health and Human Services and is funded through the PCOR Trust Fund.
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AHRQ Hits the Road With Info on Treatment Comparisons
AHRQ’s efforts to provide evidence-based treatment information to consumers recently extended to health fairs, including the Knoxville Healthy Living Expo that attracted dozens of visitors to AHRQ’s Treatment Options booth.
The Expo on January 31 and February 1 attracted 6,500 people, many of whom visited the AHRQ Treatment Options booth to pick up more than 300 copies of the Agency’s plain-language research summaries for consumers. The evidence-based publications from AHRQ’s Effective Health Care (EHC) Program are based on AHRQ’s growing library of research reviews that compare treatments for health conditions such as depression, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension.
AHRQ’s ongoing dissemination efforts—health fair exhibits, Web site placements, public service announcements, Facebook posts, and text messaging alerts—have helped boost demand and led to the distribution of more than 4.2 million consumer publications.
Meanwhile, AHRQ has also distributed more than 270,000 companion clinician publications on 57 clinical topics. The clinician publications provide the “clinical bottom line” on the benefits and risks of treatment options while indicating the strength of evidence behind research findings.
Free copies of the consumer and clinician publications may be ordered by calling 1-800-358-9295 and using reference code C-05, or you can order online.
Distribution of AHRQ’s materials at community health fairs is aimed at introducing consumers to the Agency’s Treatment Options: Explore. Compare. Prepare. initiative. This initiative encourages patients to review AHRQ’s consumer research summaries as a way to prepare for medical appointments and effectively participate in shared decision making.
In recent weeks, AHRQ has distributed its publications at health fairs in Charlotte, NC, Louisville, KY, and Cartersville, GA. The Agency will be attending events in Chicago (Black Women's Expo, March 28–30), Indianapolis (WTHR-TV Health & Fitness Expo, April 26–27), and Boston (AARPLife@50+ event, May 8–10).
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Research in Action: AHRQ Tools Help Nevadans Review Treatment Options
The Valley Health System, a network of five acute care hospitals serving patients throughout Southern Nevada and surrounding areas, uses EHC Program resources and treatment summaries for diabetes, hypertension, depression, and osteoporosis as part of its nursing orientation and training programs. Nurses within the system are also encouraged to complete AHRQ’s free online continuing education on the related topics.
“The materials are very helpful to patients in explaining the disease process and medications and what they might experience,” said Michele Nichols, R.N., Valley Health System’s director of education, learning and development. She explained how this AHRQ information is important to help patients work with their families and physicians to manage their conditions.
The EHC Program summaries have also been used by Valley Health System for patient education in emergency departments and patient care units in the hospitals. The emergency department directors and nurses have shared the summaries with their patients and caregivers, according to Nichols.
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Childhood Obesity Prevention: Effective Intervention Strategies
Materials from AHRQ's EHC Program evaluate the effectiveness of different types of intervention programs and their settings that can prevent childhood obesity. The summary materials provide an overview on effective school–based, home–based, and community–based intervention programs. Resources include—
New Review Finds More Research Is Needed on Effective Smoking Cessation Interventions in Pregnant and Postpartum Women
According to the latest research review from AHRQ, across all interventions to promote smoking cessation, including advice and counseling, self-help materials, nicotine replacement therapy, antidepressants, drug cessation aids, and incentives, there is not enough data to assess the effectiveness of various smoking cessation interventions and relapse prevention for pregnant and postpartum women. However, approaches that combine multiple components appear to have the best likelihood of success. Selecting which components to include is more complex and should be based on the particular considerations of a clinical setting, including patient characteristics and resource allocation, but financial incentives demonstrated the greatest effect among components studied. More research is needed including additional studies on incentive interventions to determine the amount of incentives needed and under what circumstances they are effective. These findings are available in the research review, Smoking Cessation Interventions in Pregnancy and Postpartum Care.
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