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Research Activities

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June 2005, No. 298


About Research Activities

Feature Story

Physician supply increases in States with caps on malpractice lawsuit awards, with the greatest impact in rural areas

Clinical Decisionmaking

Absence of chest pain in patients with suspected heart attack or angina does not signal a less severe condition
Three clinical factors can determine the likelihood of cervical spine fractures in elderly victims of blunt trauma
Photodynamic therapy is a cost-effective treatment option for patients with high-grade dysplasia in Barrett's esophagus
Advance care planning standards could be improved by giving patients more flexibility in conveying their wishes to others

Outcomes/Effectiveness Research

More frequent sit-down rounds in dialysis units are associated with better patient outcomes

Primary Care Research

More than 13 percent of primary care patients do not know why they are taking at least one of their prescription medications
Herbal use is common among urban primary care patients and often is not disclosed to doctors
Primary care physician specialty influences use of screening mammography and Pap smears in gatekeeper plans

Women's Health

Existing coronary heart disease is undiagnosed in half of women who have a first heart attack
Women respond differently to medications than men and should be proactive about their medication use
Despite revised guidelines, most obstetrician/gynecologists continue to overscreen low-risk women for cervical cancer

Disparities/Minority Health

Researchers find racial and socioeconomic disparities in compensation for work-related back injuries
Black/white disparities in time to treatment for heart attack patients depend on the admitting hospital
Study reveals racial/ethnic and income-related disparities in use of Web-based health services

Children's Health

Rural hospitals appear to deliver care similar to nonrural hospitals for many common pediatric conditions
Nurses can take steps to prevent pediatric medication errors associated with dosing and administration

Long-term Care

Nurses tend to use individual behavioral and visual cues to assess pain in nursing home residents
Resident and facility characteristics affect the amount of direct care time received by elders in supportive housing

Quality/Patient Safety

Hospitals with internal support for quality improvement are most likely to prescribe beta-blockers for heart attack patients
Limiting residents' work hours may have unintended consequences on continuity of care
Publishing report cards about a surgeon's quality influences consumer selection of surgeons
Doctors who have been in practice longer may be more likely to provide lower quality of care
Nursing home complaints, taken together with other measures, can be used to assess nursing home quality of care
Veterans Health Administration clinics provide better overall quality of care than many other sites
Better monitoring of outpatients taking thyroid replacement therapy may reduce drug-related problems
One-third of a national sample of hospital staff nurses made an error or near error over a 1-month period
Partnering with hospitalized patients to monitor medication use is a feasible strategy for reducing drug errors

Health Care Costs and Financing

Maryland Medicaid saved millions of dollars by ending reimbursement of dentists for treating adult dental emergencies
Despite predictions of the end of managed care, enrollment in HMO plans has stayed relatively constant in recent years
High managed care penetration boosts breast and cervical cancer screening, with spillover effects to non-managed care patients

Agency News and Notes

Task Force recommends against routine use of estrogen to prevent chronic diseases in postmenopausal women who have undergone hysterectomy
AHRQ center director Dan Stryer dies at age 41
Journal supplement explores lessons to be learned in health care quality and disparities from AHRQ's first national reports
AHRQ is supportive of nursing research and encourages nurses to work with the agency in various capacities


AHRQ awards more than $8 million to further implementation of evidence-based patient safety findings
New Web-based tool helps planners inventory resources for public health emergencies
AHRQ announces new triage tools for hospital emergency departments
Research Briefs

Current as of June 2005
AHRQ Publication No. 05-0087

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