Skip Navigation Archive: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Archive: Agency for Healthcare Research Quality
Archival print banner

This information is for reference purposes only. It was current when produced and may now be outdated. Archive material is no longer maintained, and some links may not work. Persons with disabilities having difficulty accessing this information should contact us at: Let us know the nature of the problem, the Web address of what you want, and your contact information.

Please go to for current information.

HHS Secretary Sebelius Releases Inaugural Health Care "Success Story" About Michigan Keystone ICU Project

Patient Safety and Health IT Newsletter, Issue #54

AHRQ's Patient Safety and Health Information Technology E-Newsletter summarizes patient safety news and information from the Agency.

Quote of the Month

"Americans don't expect to get additional infections when they go into the hospital. Stopping health care associated infections and improving the quality of care is one of our top priorities... When we enact health reform, we can improve quality, help control costs and ensure success stories like the Michigan Keystone ICU Project become the rule, not the exception." (For more details, go to item no. 1.)

—HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

Today's Headlines:

AHRQ Patient Safety News:

  1. HHS Secretary Sebelius releases inaugural health care "success story" about Michigan Keystone ICU project
  2. HHS Secretary Sebelius releases new AHRQ Nationwide Emergency Department Sample data
  3. AHRQ study concludes common antibiotics may be best treatment for children with MRSA-related infections
  4. HHS holds stakeholder meetings on preventing and reducing healthcare-associated infections
  5. AHRQ podcast highlights value of community-based patient safety advisory councils
  6. AHRQ's National Guideline Clearinghouse™ features new resources to prevent hospital acquired conditions
  7. AHRQ in the patient safety professional literature—some useful citations

AHRQ Health IT News:

  1. AHRQ seeks information on tools for redesigning health IT workflow-deadline August 24
  2. New AHRQ-funded study finds electronic reminders improve tobacco cessation treatment
  3. Integrated reporting technology speeds clinical information retrieval for rural Vermont health providers
  4. New AHRQ resources on clinical decision support are available
  5. Twitter updates about AHRQ
  6. AHRQ in the health IT professional literature—some useful citations

Register now for AHRQ's 2009 annual conference:
Research to Reform: Achieving Health System Change on September 13-16


AHRQ Patient Safety News: 

1. HHS Secretary Sebelius Releases Inaugural Health Care "Success Story" About Michigan Keystone ICU Project

Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius recently released the first in a series of health care "success story" reports that document innovative programs and initiatives that can serve as models for a reformed American health care system. The inaugural report highlights the Michigan Keystone Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Project, a joint partnership between the Michigan Health and Hospital Association and the Johns Hopkins University. The Michigan Keystone ICU Project helped dramatically reduce the number of health care-associated infections in Michigan, saving over 1,500 lives and $200 million. The goal of the Michigan Keystone ICU project, which was initially funded by AHRQ, was to make patient care safer in over 100 ICUs in the state of Michigan by reducing catheter-related bloodstream infections. To help reduce these infections, clinicians were asked to implement a safety protocol that included a simple checklist. Select to read the HHS press release. 

2. HHS Secretary Sebelius Releases New AHRQ Nationwide Emergency Department Sample Data

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius recently announced the release of the new Nationwide Emergency Department Sample, the largest, all-payer emergency department database in the United States. Managed by AHRQ, the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample is designed to help public health experts, policymakers, health care administrators, researchers, journalists and others find the data they need to answer questions about care in U.S. hospital emergency departments. The data found that uninsured persons accounted for nearly one-fifth of the 120 million hospital-based emergency department visits in 2006. AHRQ also released its latest Nationwide Inpatient Sample, the largest, most powerful database on hospital care in the United States, covering all patients, regardless of their type of insurance or whether they were insured. The database provides users with an in-depth look at why patients were hospitalized, the treatments and procedures they received and what happened to them at discharge. The two databases, as well as the 2006 Kids' Inpatient Database on pediatric inpatient care, are part of AHRQ's Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP), a Federal-State-industry partnership for building a standardized, multi-state health data system. HCUP databases can be accessed by using the AHRQ online query tool, HCUPnet. Select to read the HHS press release. 

3. AHRQ Study Concludes Common Antibiotics May Be Best Treatment for Children with MRSA-Related Infections

Penicillin and other antibiotics in the beta-lactam family work as well as other antibiotics to treat methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections in the skin and soft tissue of children and may help prevent further resistance to antibiotic treatment, according to a new AHRQ-funded study. The study, led by Daniel J. Elliott, M.D., of the Christiana Care Health System, Newark, DE, and Theoklis E. Zaoutis, M.D., of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, compared treatment outcomes for three different antibiotics—beta-lactams (which include penicillin, cephalosporins, carbapenems and monobactams), clindamycin, and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMZ). The study concluded that children treated with clindamycin for skin and soft-tissue infections potentially caused by MRSA did not show greater improvement compared to those treated with beta-lactam therapy. Children treated with TMP-SMZ were less likely to show improvement. Findings from the study, "Empiric Antimicrobial Therapy for Pediatric Skin and Soft-Tissue Infections in the Era of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus," are published in the June issue of Pediatrics. Select to access the abstract. 

4. HHS Holds Stakeholder Meetings on Preventing and Reducing Healthcare-Associated Infections

As part of HHS' commitment to prevent and reduce healthcare-associated infections, a series of free meetings are being held to engage of stakeholders and the public to obtain feedback on:

  • Potential for broad adoption of a single national set of healthcare-associated infection reduction metrics and targets.
  • Considerations (needs, barriers, and potential solutions) for operationalizing the metrics and targets in a meaningful manner.
  • How to create accountability in a multi-faceted approach to reducing healthcare-associated infections.
  • Focus and approach to a messaging campaign aimed at reducing healthcare-associated infections.

Future meetings will take place in Chicago, IL, on July 30, and Seattle, WA, on August 27. Select to register for these meetings 

5. AHRQ Podcast Highlights Value of Community-Based Patient Safety Advisory Councils

In a recent Healthcare 411 podcast, AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D., discusses the importance of community-based patient safety advisory councils—groups of patients and clinicians who come together as a team to identify ways to improve patient safety in organizations. As a team, the council sets goals based on the needs of their community. Patients have a chance to participate in meetings in which hospital policies are set and can learn effective ways to reduce their health care risks. Select to access the podcast and to learn more about AHRQ's guide, Guide for Developing a Community-Based Patient Safety Advisory Council, developed through AHRQ's Partnerships in Implementing Patient Safety grant program by a team of researchers led by Kathryn Leonhardt, M.D., of Aurora Health Care in Milwaukee, WI. 

6. AHRQ's National Guideline Clearinghouse™ Features New Resources to Prevent Hospital Acquired Conditions

AHRQ's National Guideline Clearinghouse™, a repository of over 2,300 evidence-based clinical practice guidelines, now features over 45 new guidelines on CMS-identified hospital-acquired conditions. Hospitals can apply these guidelines to improve processes for preventing these conditions, which are defined as those that occur during a hospital stay—conditions that are not identified in a patient at admission but are present at discharge. These conditions can lead to the harm of patients and an increase in health care costs. To address this issue, Medicare no longer pays hospitals for the additional costs associated with care for a patient deemed to have a hospital acquired condition. 

7. AHRQ in the Patient Safety Professional Literature—Some Useful Citations

We are providing the following hyperlinks to abstracts of journal articles describing AHRQ-funded research. If you are having problems accessing the abstracts because of firewalls or specific settings on your individual computer systems, you should ask your technical support staff for possible remedies.

Chrischilles EA, VanGilder R, Wright K, et al. Inappropriate medication use as a risk factor for self-reported adverse drug effects in older adults. J Am Geriatr Soc 2009 Jun; 57(6):1000-6. Select to access the abstract.

Friedberg MW, Mehrotra A, Linder JA. Reporting hospitals' antibiotic timing in pneumonia: adverse consequences for patients? Am J Manag Care 2009 Feb; 15(2):137-44.Select to access the abstract.


AHRQ Health IT News: 

8. AHRQ Seeks Information on Tools for Redesigning Health IT Workflow-Deadline August 24

AHRQ is requesting information from small- and medium-sized medical practices on tools for analyzing and redesigning workflow before or after health IT implementation. AHRQ is assessing existing research and evidence in the area of the impacts of health IT on workflow, its linkage to clinician adoption, and its links to the safety, quality, efficiency, and effectiveness of care delivery. Comments should be submitted on or before August 24. Electronic responses should be addressed to To read the full notice published in the Federal Register and visit the project Web site, go to AHRQ's National Resource Center for Health Information Technology. 

9. New AHRQ-Funded Study Finds Electronic Reminders Improve Tobacco Cessation Treatment

Primary care clinicians counsel patients to quit smoking more often when they are prompted by an electronic health record, according to a new study supported by AHRQ and NIH's National Cancer Institute. Clinicians participating in the study were part of the Partners Primary Care Practice-Based Research Network, a group of 26 primary care practices that currently use a Web-based electronic health record and are affiliated with Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital. Clinicians in an intervention group received tobacco treatment-related reminders and icons; more than 40 percent of them used a new "Tobacco Smart Form," an addition to the electronic health record that prompted them to provide a range of smoking cessation interventions. Among patients who were smokers at the start of the study, more than twice as many, who went to practices with the prompts or the form quit smoking by the end of the study, largely due to followup with a tobacco counselor. Select to access the free full article, "An Electronic Health Record—Based Intervention to Improve Tobacco Treatment in Primary Care" published in the April 27 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. 

10. Integrated Reporting Technology Speeds Clinical Information Retrieval for RuralVermont Health Providers

AHRQ's National Resource Center for Health Information Technology has published a new entry in its Health IT Implementation Stories series that demonstrates how an integrated reporting system has improved the way health care providers at Mt. Ascutney Healthcare Consortium in Windsor, VT, collect, store, and transfer patient information. Now, a patient's health information—including drug allergies, treatment history, and test or procedure results—is easily accessible without having to search a paper chart. Select to access the story and to access a recent AHRQ Healthcare 411 podcast (transcript) on this project. To access any of AHRQ's podcasts and special reports or to sign up for a free subscription to the series and receive notice of all future AHRQ podcasts, visit our Healthcare 411 series main page. 

11. New AHRQ Resources on Clinical Decision Support Are Available

AHRQ has sponsored a series of white papers to better understand how clinical decision support (CDS) systems can be incorporated into ambulatory health care settings. The papers explore challenges involved with CDS and provide guidance to those developing, implementing, and studying CDS. Two papers are now available on AHRQ's National Resource Center for Health Information Technology:

A third paper, which addresses quality measurement and CDS, is scheduled to be released later this year. 

12. Twitter Updates about AHRQ

AHRQ news updates are now available on Twitter, a micro-blogging service that allows users to send updates to people in their social network. Select to follow AHRQ on Twitter. If you do not already have a Twitter account, you will be prompted to create one. Twitter accounts are free. 

13. AHRQ in the Health IT Professional Literature-Some Useful Citations

We are providing the following hyperlinks to abstracts of journal articles describing AHRQ-funded research. If you are having problems accessing the abstracts because of firewalls or specific settings on your individual computer systems, you should ask your technical support staff for possible remedies.

Fine AM, Kalish LA, Forbes P, Goldmann D, Mandl KD, Porter SC. Parent-driven technology for decision support in pediatric emergency care. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2009 Jun;35(6):307-15. Select to access the abstract.

McConnochie KM, Wood NE, Herendeen NE, et al. Acute illness care patterns change with use of telemedicine. Pediatrics 2009 Jun; 123(6):e989-e995. Select to access the abstract.

Teufel RJ 2nd, Kazley AS, Basco WT Jr. Early adopters of computerized physician order entry in hospitals that care for children: a picture of U.S. health care shortly after the Institute of Medicine reports on quality. Clin Pediatr 2009 May; 48(4):389-96. Select to access the abstract. 

Register Now for AHRQ's 2009 Annual Conference:
Research to Reform: Achieving Health System Change on September 13-16

Register now for AHRQ's third annual conference, scheduled for September 13-16, at the Bethesda North Marriott Convention Center in Bethesda, MD. Leading authorities in health care research and policy will hold sessions on health care infrastructure, delivery of services, quality and safety, improving Americans' health status, provider performance and payment reform, and patient engagement.

AHRQ's Patient Safety and Health Information Technology E-Newsletter Contact:

Please address comments and questions to Salina Prasad at or (301) 427-1864.

Update your subscriptions, modify your password or E-mail address, or stop subscriptions at any time on your Subscriber Preferences Page. You will need to use your E-mail address to log in.

If you have any questions or problems with the subscription service, E-mail: For other inquiries, Contact Us.

If you have questions about AHRQ's activities, please try to find the answers by checking our Home Page, where we have established links to various topical areas. Also check the News & Information section and Frequently Asked Questions. You may also Browse the Web Site. These features are designed to assist you in obtaining the information you are seeking.

This service is provided to you at no charge by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Page last reviewed July 2009
Internet Citation: HHS Secretary Sebelius Releases Inaugural Health Care "Success Story" About Michigan Keystone ICU Project: Patient Safety and Health IT Newsletter, Issue #54. July 2009. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.


The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


AHRQ Advancing Excellence in Health Care