AHRQ Electronic Newsletter, March 1, 2016

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March 1, 2016, Issue #507

AHRQ Stats: Control of Diabetes

The rate of hospital admissions for uncontrolled diabetes without complications fell from about 28 percent in 2001 to 17 percent in 2012. Admissions fell across all racial and ethnic groups, but rates remained higher for blacks and Hispanics and lower for Asians/Pacific Islanders compared with whites. (Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2014 National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report, Chartbook on Effective Treatment.)


Today's Headlines:


AHRQ Director Richard Kronick Departing

AHRQ Director Richard Kronick, Ph.D., announced Feb. 24 that he will leave the agency and return to the University of California, San Diego. His last day at AHRQ will be March 18. AHRQ Deputy Director Sharon Arnold, Ph.D., will serve as the agency’s acting director. In an email to HHS employees, Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell said Dr. Kronick “worked tirelessly to provide insight and information critical to improving the health of the nation.” In his time at AHRQ, Dr. Kronick focused the Agency on pursuing AHRQ’s mission through three core activities: producing research and evidence to improve the performance of the health care system; producing tools and training materials to make sure that evidence is understood and used; and investing in data and measures used by providers, patients and policymakers.  “The results of this work are evidenced in the remarkable progress we have made on improving safety in hospital care,” Dr. Burwell said. “As a result of AHRQ’s work, in collaboration with colleagues at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, other parts of HHS and the private sector, hospital care was 17 percent safer in 2014 than in 2010, resulting in 87,000 fewer deaths, 2.1 million fewer harms to patients and almost $20 billion in cost savings.”  Under Dr. Kronick’s leadership, AHRQ also launched EvidenceNOW and grants on comparative health systems performance. Dr. Kronick’s departure from AHRQ concludes a six-year career at HHS. He joined the Department in January 2010 as deputy assistant secretary for planning and evaluation, overseeing the Office of Health Policy, building the capacity of that office to produce high-quality analyses.


AHRQ Releases New Chartbook on Health Care for Blacks

AA chartbook

AHRQ’s Chartbook on Health Care for Blacks, derived from the National Health Care Quality and Disparities Report, summarizes trends in health care disparities by race related to access, as well as priorities identified in the Heckler Report (the 1985 landmark report on minorities’ health status) and the National Quality Strategy (HHS’ annual report on improving health care quality). Key findings include increases in suicide and mental health disparities, improvements in access to care since the Affordable Care Act, and poorer quality of care related to person-centeredness and care coordination.


Register Now: March 15 Webcast on Improving CAHPS Clinician and Group Survey Scores

Registration is open for a March 15 webcast from noon to 1 p.m. ET that will feature innovative strategies that two health systems are using to significantly improve scores on the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS®) Survey. Speakers from a large academic medical center and a community health center will highlight improvement strategies, barriers addressed, results achieved and lessons learned. The webcast also will introduce a newly revised version of the CAHPS Ambulatory Care Improvement Guide, a comprehensive and free resource for medical groups, health plans and other providers who seek to improve their scores on the CAHPS ambulatory care surveys. CAHPS surveys ask consumers about their experiences with health care. AHRQ’s CAHPS program supports the development and promotion of CAHPS surveys, instructional materials and comparative databases and provides technical assistance to users. Learn more.


New Research and Data From AHRQ

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Available Now: Resources for Grant Applicants Seeking To Address Opioid Abuse Disorder in Rural Areas

Technical assistance materials are available prior to Friday’s March 4 deadline for applicants who seek AHRQ grants to address opioid use disorder in rural areas. The resources -- meeting slides and a transcript from a January 13 meeting, “Increasing Access to Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) in Rural Primary Care Practices” -- are available to applicants who seek funding for research demonstration projects that will use MAT to address opioid use disorder. MAT is an evidence-based approach that uses Food and Drug Administration-approved medications combined with psychosocial treatments. AHRQ is making available up to $12 million to fund as many as four research demonstration projects to support implementation of MAT.


Featured Case Study: AHRQ Training Program Improves Care at Texas Military Hospital

After the San Antonio Military Medical Center implemented AHRQ’sTeamSTEPPS® training program in 2013, patient safety concerns declined by 60 percent in urology services while on-time surgical start rates improved by 21 percent. Read the case study.


AHRQ in the Professional Literature


National trends in maternal use of opioid drugs among pregnancy-related hospitalizations in the United States, 1998 to 2009. Salihu HM, Mogos MF, Salinas-Miranda AA, et al. Am J Perinatol. 2015 Feb;32(3):289-98. Epub 2014 Jul 31. Access the abstract in PubMed®.

Did Medicare Part D affect national trends in health outcomes or hospitalizations? A time-series analysis. Briesacher BA, Madden JM, Zhang F, et al. Ann Intern Med. 2015 Jun 16;162(12):825-33. Access the abstract in PubMed®.

Diagnostic methods for myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome: a systematic review for a National Institutes of Health Pathways to Prevention Workshop. Haney E, Smith ME, McDonagh M, et al. Ann Intern Med. 2015 Jun 16;162(12):834-40. Access the abstract in PubMed®.

Treatment of myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome: a systematic review for a National Institutes of Health Pathways to Prevention Workshop. Smith ME, Haney E, McDonagh M, et al. Ann Intern Med. 2015 Jun 16;162(12):841-50. Access the abstract in PubMed®.

Associations between anticoagulation therapy and risks of mortality and readmission among patients with heart failure and atrial fibrillation. Hernandez AF, Liang L, Fonarow GC, et al. Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes. 2014 Sep;7(5):670-9. Epub 2014 Sep 9. Access the abstract in PubMed®.

Next-generation sequencing panels for the diagnosis of colorectal cancer and polyposis syndromes: a cost-effectiveness analysis. Gallego CJ, Shirts BH, Bennette CS, et al. J Clin Oncol. 2015 Jun 20;33(18):2084-91. Epub 2015 May 4. Access the abstract in PubMed®.

Patients report better satisfaction with part-time primary care physicians, despite less continuity of care and access. Panattoni L, Stone A, Chung S, et al. J Gen Intern Med. 2015 Mar;30(3):327-33. Epub 2014 Nov 22. Access the abstract in PubMed®.

Do statins impair cognition? A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Ott BR, Daiello LA, Dahabreh IJ, et al. J Gen Intern Med. 2015 Mar;30(3):348-58. Epub 2015 Jan 10. Access the abstract in PubMed®. 


Contact Information

Please address comments and questions about the AHRQ Electronic Newsletter to Bruce Seeman at: (301) 427-1998 or Bruce.Seeman@ahrq.hhs.gov.