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

Patient Safety and Health Information Technology E-Newsletter

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 It was current when produced and may now be outdated. Archive material is no longer maintained, and some links may not work.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.

June 12, 2008, Issue No. 45

A Note to Our Readers

Starting with this month's issue, AHRQ has officially re-named this monthly E-newsletter to reflect that we are featuring news from both the Agency's patient safety and health information technology (Health IT) portfolios. As you know, we have already been featuring these two types of news for the last several years.

Today's Headlines:

  1. AHRQ Director testifies on activities of interoperable health IT and discussion draft health IT bill
  2. HHS Secretary announces 12 communities selected to advance use of electronic health records in first ever national demonstration
  3. AHRQ announces guide to help patients on Coumadin ®Warfarin therapy
  4. E-prescribing standards expert meeting summary now available
  5. AHRQ's 2008 Annual Conference: Promoting Quality... Partnering for Change
  6. Evidence-based hospital design Web conference July 16—register now
  7. Latest issue of WebM&M is available online
  8. Calling all AHRQ researchers! "Help us to help you."
  9. AHRQ in the patient safety and health IT professional literature—some useful citations

1.  AHRQ Director Testifies on Activities of Interoperable Health IT and Discussion Draft Health IT Bill

On June 4, AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D., presented the Administration's views on a proposed discussion draft of health information technology (IT) legislation to members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce's Subcommittee on Health. On behalf of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, Dr. Clancy provided an overview of HHS efforts to date that have helped to ensure the availability of interoperable health IT. Dr. Clancy raised concerns about portions of the proposed draft health IT bill, which was developed by the Committee and is expected to be introduced later this year, including provisions that call for establishing in statute two separate Federal advisory committees and using rulemaking to adopt health IT standards, implement specifications, and certify criteria. Select to view Dr. Clancy's complete testimony.

2.  HHS Secretary Announces 12 Communities Selected to Advance Use of Electronic Health Records in First Ever National Demonstration

HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt today named 12 communities that will participate in a national Medicare demonstration project that provides incentive payments to physicians for using certified electronic health records (EHR) to improve the quality of patient care. The five-year, first-of-its-kind project is expected to improve the quality of care provided to an estimated 3.6 million Americans. The 12 communities selected to work with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on the EHR demonstration project range from county- and State-level to multi-State collaborations. The communities, which are in AL; DE; FL (Jacksonville-multi-county); GA; ME; LA; MD/Washington, DC; OK; PA (Pittsburgh-multi-county); SD (multi-State); VA; and WI (Madison-multi-county), demonstrated active collaboration among stakeholders, including physicians and other providers, health plans, employers, government, and consumers. They also have existing or planned private sector initiatives related to health information technology and quality reporting and adequate size to recruit a sufficient number of primary care physician practices. The EHR demonstration project is an important step toward President Bush's goal of most Americans having a secure, interoperable electronic health record by 2014. Select to view HHS' press release.

3. AHRQ Announces Guide to Help Patients on Coumadin ®/Warfarin Therapy

AHRQ released a new consumer publication, Your Guide to Coumadin®/Warfarin Therapy. This 20-page, easy-to-read patient brochure explains what patients should expect and watch out for while undergoing Coumadin®/warfarin therapy. This brochure educates patients about their medication therapy and potentially dangerous side effects, explains how to communicate effectively with their health care providers, and provides tips for lifestyle modifications. It also provides information on remembering when to take the medicine, learning how to stay safe while taking the medicine, maintaining a consistent diet, and alerting health care providers to concurrent drugs and/or supplements patients are taking to avoid any potential adverse interactions. Select to read our press release and select to access the brochure. A print copy is available by sending an E-mail to

4.  E-prescribing Standards Expert Meeting Summary Now Available

Earlier this year, AHRQ's National Resource Center for Health Information Technology convened a group of experts in the field of e-prescribing standards to discuss next steps for three e-prescribing standards—RxNorm, Structured and Codified Sig, and Electronic Prior Authorization. At the meeting, experts discussed the technical work, research and testing required for the standards that were funded by AHRQ and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services which are to be recommended for widespread adoption.

5.  AHRQ's 2008 Annual Conference: Promoting Quality... Partnering for Change

Register now for AHRQ's 2008 Annual Conference, which will be held September 7-10 in Bethesda, MD. Leading national experts will hold sessions on patient safety, health IT, comparative effectiveness research, disease prevention and care management, and innovations in health care. For additional information about attending this year's conference.

6.  Evidence-based Hospital Design Web Conference July 16—Register Now

AHRQ will sponsor a free Web conference, entitled Transforming Hospitals: Designing for Safety and Quality, on Wednesday, July 16, 2008 from 1:30-3:00 PM (ET). Hospital executives, clinicians, patient safety advocates, and health care designers are invited to join industry experts to talk about how evidence-based hospital design creates safer and more effective health care facilities. The event will feature AHRQ's new Transforming Hospitals DVD, which features a 13-minute overview and a 36-minute review of safe design initiatives at three hospitals. Select to register for the Web conference. For registration questions, please contact

7.  Latest Issue of WebM &M Is Available Online

The May issue of AHRQ WebM&M is now available online. The Perspectives on Safety section focuses on computerization and information technology. The section features David Bates, M.D., of Harvard Medical School, and the Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, discussing the impact of information technology systems on patient safety outcomes and clinical decision support. In an accompanying perspective piece, Josh Peterson, M.D., of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, discusses the integration of medication decision support systems into practice. The Spotlight Case features author Roger Chou, M.D., of Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR, discussing the benefits and challenges in screening for HIV infection. The second case features author David Feldman, M.D., MBA, of Maimonides Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY, discussing best practices for medical time outs. The third case features Nita Kulkarni, M.D., and Mark Williams, M.D., of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, discussing how to improve the process and safety of direct admissions. Physicians and nurses can receive free CME, CEU, or trainee certification by taking the Spotlight Quiz. You can easily share AHRQ WebM&M cases by using the "Email a colleague" feature.

8. Calling All AHRQ Researchers! "Help Us to Help You."

As you may know, AHRQ can help you promote the findings of your research, but we can't do it without you. AHRQ has been successful in working with our grantees and contractors to promote findings to the media and to transfer knowledge based on the research to appropriate audiences in the health care community. However, we know that we can do better. We need you to notify us when you have an article accepted for publication. Please send a copy of the manuscript, anticipated publication date, and contact information for the journal and your institution's public relations office to your AHRQ project officer and to AHRQ Public Affairs at Your manuscript will be reviewed to determine what level of marketing we will pursue. Please be assured that AHRQ always honors the journal embargo. Thank you for your cooperation.

9.  AHRQ in the Patient Safety and 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.

Fahrenkofp AM, Sectish TC, Barger LK. Rates of medication errors among depressed and burnt out residents: prospective cohort study. BMJ 2008 Mar 1; 336(7642):488-91. Select to access the abstract of the study.

Kaushal R, Goldmann DA, Keohane CA, et al. Adverse drug events in pediatric outpatients. Ambul Pediatr 2007 Sep-Oct; 7(5):383-9. Select to access the abstract of the study.

Lanoue E, Still CJ. Patient identification: Producing a better barcoded wristband. PSQH 2008 May-Jun. Select to access the abstract of the study.

Moy E, Greenberg LG, Borsky AE. Community variation: disparities in health care quality between Asian and white Medicare beneficiaries. Health Aff 2008 Mar-Apr; 27(2):538-49. Select to access the abstract of the study.

Wakefield DS, Ward MM, Groath D, Schwichtenberg T, Magdits L, Brokel J, Crandall D. Complexity of medication-related verbal orders. Am J Med Qual. 2008 Jan-Feb;23(1):7-17. Select to access the abstract of the study.

White AA, Gallagher TH, Krauss MJ, et al. The attitudes and experiences of trainees regarding disclosing medical errors to patients. Acad Med 2008 Mar; 83(3):250-6. Select to access the abstract of the study.

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

Please address comments and questions regarding the newsletter to Salina Prasad at; (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).

Current as of June 2008


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


AHRQ Advancing Excellence in Health Care