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AHRQ Awards 9 New Research Projects in Five Areas

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Press Release Date: June 14, 2000

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) today announced funding for 9 new research projects in five areas: patient decisionmaking, child health, elderly care, women's health, and physician practice style. The funding for these new projects is anticipated to total $11.4 million over a 2- to 4-year period. The newly funded projects in their appropriate categories are:

Patient Decisionmaking

  • Measuring Interpersonal Processes in Diverse Patients. Principal investigator: Anita Stewart, M.D. University of California, San Francisco, CA; $798,184; 07/01/00-06/30/03. (Grant No.: HS10599)

    The researchers will examine the interpersonal processes of care—such as communication and shared decisionmaking—that occur between patients and clinicians and assess the effects of these interpersonal processes on the disparities in health and health care that exist across racial and ethnic groups.

  • Information Interpretation in Patient Decision Support. Principal investigator: Margaret M. Holmes-Rovner, Ph.D. Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI. $845,625; 08/01/00-07/31/02. (Grant No.: HS10608)

    This study will examine the types of information commonly used by clinicians to communicate with patients about the risks and benefits of treatment, such as patient interviews, graphs and diagrams, and statistical information. The researchers will focus on comprehension and interpretation of health information by people of different races with different levels of education.

  • A Patient Activation Approach to Improving Diabetes Care. Principal investigator: Russell E. Glasgow, Ph.D. AMC Cancer Research Center, Denver, CO. $3,393,759; 04/05/00-03/31/04. (Grant No.: HS10123)

    This randomized controlled trial will address diabetes self-management and improved practice adherence to recommended guidelines for adult patients with type 2 diabetes. It will involve nearly 1,000 patients drawn from 32 diverse primary care practices in Colorado and neighboring states.

Child Health

  • Otitis Media: Parent Education to Avoid Antibiotic Use. Principal investigator: David P. McCormick, M.D. University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX. $1,149,167; 03/01/00-02/28/03. (Grant No.: HS10613)

    The goal of this project is to establish the safety, efficacy, cost, and acceptability of withholding antibiotics from children with mild acute otitis media and substituting nonantibiotic, symptomatic treatment, parent education, and careful followup of children with this common condition.

  • Regionalization, Market Forces, and Neonatal Mortality. Principal investigator: Ciaran S. Phibbs, Ph.D. Palo Alto Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Menlo Park, CA. $952,262 (AHRQ's contribution totals $380,905); 04/01/00-03/31/04. (Grant No.: HD36914)

    This study of neonatal intensive care units (NICU) will use data from California to assess neonatal mortality differences over time, examine the relationship between total NICU volume and the volume of newborns in specific high-risk groups, look at the relationship between type of insurance coverage and neonatal mortality over time, and examine how competition and the increased use of market forces to control costs have affected the diffusion of NICUs into community hospitals. Co-funded by AHRQ and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Elderly Care

  • Benefits of Regionalizing Surgery for Medicare Patients. Principal investigator: John D. Birkmeyer, M.D. Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH. $831,288; 04/01/00-03/31/03. (Grant No.: HS10141)

    The researchers will use Medicare hospital discharge data for patients who had any of 10 specified high-risk procedures to investigate the effects on mortality of shifting care from low-volume (high-risk) to high-volume (low-risk) hospitals.

  • Assisted Living and Health System Use. Principal investigator: Charles D. Phillips, Ph.D. Myers Research Institute, Beachwood, OH. $427,820; 06/01/00-05/31/02. (Grant No.: HS10606)

    This project will examine how the characteristics of assisted living facilities affect the ways in which residents interact with the health and long-term care systems, specifically their use of Medicare-covered health services and transitions to other care settings.

Women's Health

  • Evaluation of Postnatal and Postpartum Care Programs. Principal investigator: Jutta Joesch, Ph.D. Battelle Memorial Institute, Seattle, WA. $764,683; 03/01/00-11/30/01. (Grant No.: HS10138)

    The goals of this study are to examine new mothers' use of health services after hospital discharge—including the factors that influence their decisions about use—and determine the impact of medical care use patterns on health status and breast feeding.

Physician Practice Style

  • Managed Care, Financial Incentive and Physician Practice. Principal investigator: Carol Simon, Ph.D. Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA. $2,289,135; 03/01/00-02/28/03. (Grant No.: HS10596)

    Researchers will examine how physician behavior is affected by financial and nonfinancial incentives, practice characteristics and competitive environment, and patient factors, as well as physician awareness of incentives put in place by managed care organizations.

AHRQ is the lead agency charged with supporting research designed to improve the quality of health care, reduce its cost, improve patient safety, address medical errors, and broaden access to essential services. AHRQ sponsors and conducts research that provides evidence-based information on health care outcomes; quality; and cost, use, and access. The information helps health care decisionmakers—patients and clinicians, health system leaders, and policymakers—make more informed decisions and improve the quality of health care services.

For more information, contact AHRQ Public Affairs (301) 427-1364: Salina Prasad: (301) 427-1864 (

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