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Research Activities

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July 2003, No. 275


About Research Activities

Feature Story

Among elderly stroke victims, blacks are less likely than whites to be alive 3 years after stroke

Clinical Decisionmaking

Lifestyle changes could improve blood pressure control in people who have diabetes
Use of rapid MRI instead of x-ray to detect rare cancer-related back pain in primary care patients may not be cost effective
Recommendations for diagnosing and treating low back pain call for a conservative, step-by-step approach
Physicians exhibit certain behaviors when treating patients who are in pain

Pharmaceutical Research

Heart attack patients who are not discharged from the hospital on beta-blockers are unlikely to start them as outpatients
Greater use of guideline-recommended asthma medication in recent years may have helped to stabilize the number of asthma visits
Many questions remain unanswered about prevention and treatment of glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis

Outcomes/Effectiveness Research

Patients who receive stem cell transplants at high-volume transplant centers are less likely to die or fail treatment

Quality/Patient Safety

Common physician medication errors could be prevented by linking laboratory and pharmacy information systems
Disclosure to patients of in-hospital medical errors has increased, but there is room for improvement

Women's Health/Children's Health

Researchers examine cost-effectiveness and quality of life following surgery for early breast cancer
More assertive outreach programs may be needed to link homeless women to case managers and a broader range of services
Physicians have an important role in identifying victims of domestic violence and referring them for appropriate services
Parental misconceptions about respiratory illnesses, not day care pressure, lead parents to pressure physicians for antibiotics
Medical treatment of one child for an injury may signal a period of increased injury risk for other children in the family
School-based health centers reduce asthma-related hospitalization and absenteeism among urban children

Hospitalization/Emergency Care

Having more RMs on staff can decrease the odds of pneumonia and associated costs among hospitalized surgery patients
Some 911 callers may be safely referred to alternative services to save ambulances for true emergencies

Elderly Health/Long-term Care

Expanding Medicare to include a drug benefit would reduce the financial burden on elders but might not greatly increase drug access
Physician recommendations and patient concerns about vaccine safety are associated with elderly influenza vaccination rates
Infections are a serious problem in nursing homes
Symposium highlights the important role of nurses in managing urinary incontinence

Mental Health Research

Medicaid shifts to widely used mental health carve-out programs may interrupt therapy among the most needy patients
One-third of adult survivors of childhood cancer suffer from psychological problems
Among people with HIV/AIDS, whites are much more likely than blacks to use medication to treat psychological problems

Health Care Costs and Financing

Half of hospital costs for diabetes patients are linked to the subset of patients with multiple hospitalizations
Children in U.S. managed care plans are far more likely to be referred to specialists than children in the United Kingdom
Financial consequences for doctor referrals to specialists affect patient satisfaction but not outcomes
Changes in Medicare's PPS have led to a moderate drop in rehabilitation days at skilled nursing facilities
Declining payments for emergency care compromise the ability of EDs to provide emergency care to the uninsured
Job satisfaction for most physicians hinges on good staff relationships, control of time off, and clinical autonomy

Agency News and Notes

Task Force finds little evidence to support use of vitamin supplements to prevent cancer or heart disease


New model helps hospitals and health systems better respond to potential bioterrorism
HCUP 2001 Nationwide Inpatient Sample data now available

Research Briefs

Current as of July 2003
AHRQ Publication No. 03-0039

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