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Issue 23, April 2014

Highlighting important news and developments from AHRQ’s Effective Health Care Program

In this issue:

Research in Action: AHRQ Information Tools Endorsed by Hispanic Physician and Patient Groups

The National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA), a nonprofit association representing 45,000 Hispanic physicians in the United States, is among several groups advocating the use of evidence-based resources from AHRQ’s Effective Health Care (EHC) Program.

The NHMA is engaging with AHRQ in various ways, including co-branding EHC Program Spanish-language consumer and clinician summaries for its members. The NHMA also encourages its members to participate in EHC Program Webinars and will be featured in advertisements that highlight the benefits of tools and resources from the EHC Program.

“AHRQ’s EHC Program has provided NHMA physicians with valuable resources that help them choose the best option of treatment with their patients,” said Elena Rios, M.D., M.S.P.H., president and chief executive officer of NHMA.

Elena Rios, M.D., M.S.P.H., president and CEO of the National Hispanic Medical Association, stands in front of an AHRQ exhibit booth.AHRQ Spanish-language resources are designed to assist Spanish-speaking health care teams by providing culturally competent information to patients who have been diagnosed with a health condition. “The availability of Spanish materials is especially helpful when the communities our physicians treat are predominantly Latino and prefer speaking Spanish or are bilingual,” added Dr. Rios.

AHRQ’s growing library of publications in Spanish support the use of evidence in shared decision making between Spanish speaking health care providers and patients. Recently AHRQ released Spanish-language summaries on migraine in adults, keeping children at a healthy weight, hepatitis C in adults, stem cell transplantation in the pediatric population, and antipsychotic medicines for treating schizophrenia. The research summaries, based on evidence reviews, help clinicians and patients work together to compare the benefits and risks of treatment options for a variety of common health conditions.

AHRQ’s efforts to support Hispanic patients are exemplified by its collaboration with the Ventanilla de Salud (VDS), a group that helps ensure Spanish-speaking patients prepare for medical appointments by being aware of their treatment options.

“The Ventanilla de Salud reaches out to the Spanish-speaking community and because of this, we are always in need of Spanish-language materials,” said Madison Asher, coordinator of the VDS program at the Consular Section of Embassy of Mexico in Washington. “AHRQ contributes to our role in the community by providing culturally sensitive and language-appropriate resources that we have used to reinforce our health education during our health fairs as well as during our daily outreach activities.”

In addition to using Spanish-language summaries to connect communities, VDS also encourages patients to sign up for AHRQ’s text messaging for health information in Spanish and to visit “Toma las riendas” (or “Take the reins”), a Spanish-language Web page designed to help patients take a greater role in their health care by exploring benefits and harms of different treatment options. For other AHRQ Spanish-language tools, go to

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Illustration of a male  and female patient or caregiver listening to female clinician.

Have you used EHC Program products to support evidence-based decision making?

Tell us how so we can highlight your success!

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More Resources From the Effective Health Care Program

Research Available on Hepatitis C Screening Effects in Adults

Cover of “Testing for the Hepatitis C Virus” consumer summary, with half a dozen men and women lined up facing forward. Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) is becoming a greater concern for many populations in the U.S. Although screening strategies for Hepatitis C can accurately identify adults with the disease, more research is needed to understand the effects of targeted screening strategies in adults. The review also noted that evidence remains limited on the effects of knowing one's HCV status on clinical health outcomes in patients diagnosed with HCV. Resources include—

Review Finds More Research is Needed on Benefits and Harms of Routine Preoperative Testing

According to the latest research review from AHRQ, with the exception of cataract surgery, there is a lack of reliable evidence regarding the benefits, harms, and resource utilization associated with routine (defined as testing ordered in the absence of clinical indications) or per protocol preoperative testing for all tests used for all procedures. For patients scheduled for cataract surgery, routine preoperative testing including electrocardiography (ECG), basic metabolic panel (biochemistry), and complete blood count (CBC) has no effect on important clinical outcomes, including total perioperative complications or procedure cancellations. No conclusions could be drawn for other types of surgery regarding routine preoperative testing’s impact on quality of life, satisfaction, resource utilization, or harms of testing, and whether other factors may affect the balance of benefits and harms. Given the large number of patients undergoing elective surgery, there is a clear need to develop better evidence for when routine or per protocol testing improves patient outcomes and reduces potential harms. These findings are available in the research review, Benefits and Harms of Routine Preoperative Testing: A Comparative Effectiveness Review.

Review Finds Combination of Statin Therapy Lowered LDL Better Than Statin Monotherapy, but Effect on Clinical Outcome Still Unknown

A research review from AHRQ finds that to reduce abnormal lipoprotein levels and prevent coronary heart disease, a combination of statin with ezetimibe or bile acid sequestrant lowered low-density lipoprotein (LDL-c) better than intensification of statin monotherapy. However, evidence for clinical outcomes (mortality, acute coronary events, and revascularization procedures) was insufficient across all potency comparisons for all combination therapy regimens. More research, particularly in high-risk coronary heart disease populations and populations with greater burden of cardiovascular disease, is needed to evaluate long-term clinical benefits and harms. These findings are available in the comparative effectiveness review, Combination Therapy Versus Intensification of Statin Monotherapy: An Updated Systematic Review.

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