AHRQ Electronic Newsletter, Issue #345

June 8, 2012, Issue #345


AHRQ Stats 


Poor and low-income Americans are more likely than others to report that their usual source of medical care provider did not usually or never showed respect for their treatment preferences nor asked them to share in making decisions about treatment options. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, MEPS, Statistical Brief #367: Indicators of Health Care Quality by Income and Insurance Status among Individuals with a Usual Source of Care, 2009.] 


Today’s Headlines: 

  1. AHRQ toolsets available to help pharmacists and physicians implement e-prescribing
  2. New portal compares standard data sets
  3. AHRQ’s Health Care Innovations Exchange adds new focus on health care policy innovations
  4. AHRQ evidence report examines management of febrile infants
  5. AHRQ in the professional literature

1. AHRQ Toolsets Available to Help Pharmacists and Physicians Implement E-Prescribing


Two toolsets, one for physicians in small practices and one for independent pharmacies, to support e-prescribing implementation have been released by AHRQ. The toolsets offer a step-by-step guide for preparing for and launching an e-prescribing system. They include advice on topics ranging from planning the implementation process, launching the system, troubleshooting common problems, and navigating into more advanced practice and pharmacy services. Select to access the toolsets and supporting tools.



2. New Portal Compares Standard Data Sets


AHRQ and CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics have partnered to provide a portal in the United States Health Information Knowledgebase (USHIK), AHRQ’s metadata registry of health care-related data elements and their sources. The portal includes a core set of data elements from each State’s All-Payer Claims Database (APCD), the corresponding data elements in the Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) X12 5010 standard, the ASC X12 Post-Adjudicated Data Reporting Guides (in development), and the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP) Uniform Healthcare Payer Standard Implementation Guide Version 1.0. The strength of the APCD portal is its ability to facilitate a comparison among the corresponding data elements of each state’s APCD with the national standard for each data element. Using standard data elements can facilitate health information exchange and provide better estimates of disease prevalence and treatment practices. Select to access the portal.



3. AHRQ’s Health Care Innovations Exchange Adds New Focus on Health Care Policy Innovations


The June 6 issue of AHRQ’s Health Care Innovations Exchange announces a new expanded scope to included health care policy innovations in addition to its current focus on health care service delivery innovations The featured innovations describe an insurer’s incentive and support structure to stimulate quality improvement, a policy initiative implemented by the State legislature. One such innovation describes three policies implemented by the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services that help mental health centers provide consistent, high-quality treatment to people with concurrent mental health and substance abuse disorders. The policies include mandatory screening for both disorders using validated tools, a learning collaborative and evaluations to promote quality improvement, and financial incentives to clinics achieving various service benchmarks. Two statewide evaluations found that the policies have produced positive patient outcomes, achieving significant reductions in substance use and mental health symptoms in the first six months after initiating treatment.   Select to read more profiles of innovations related to on the Health Care Innovations Exchange Web Site, which contains more than 700 searchable innovations and 1,500 QualityTools.



4. AHRQ Evidence Report Examines Management of Febrile Infants


Evidence for diagnosing and managing febrile infants between 0 and 3 months of age has focused largely on ruling out serious bacterial illness, according to an AHRQ report. Prepared by AHRQ’s University of Ottawa Evidence-based Practice Center, the report also found that combined screening criteria are accurate for identifying possible cases of serious bacterial illness, but harms associated with testing or management strategies for febrile infants have not been well-studied. The review, led by Charles Hui, M.D., also found that attempts to identify high-risk groups were largely unsuccessful and little literature exists on factors associated with compliance to follow-up care. Future studies should focus on identifying the risks associated with testing and management strategies and factors that predict compliance, according to the report. Select to read the executive summary of Diagnosis and Management of Febrile Infants 0-3 Months.



5. AHRQ in the Professional Literature


We are providing the following hyperlinks to journal abstracts through PubMed® for your convenience. Access to the abstracts may be blocked because of firewalls or specific settings on individual computer systems. If you are having problems, ask your technical support staff for possible remedies.


Gibbons RD, Brown CH, Hur K, et al. Suicidal thoughts and behavior with antidepressant treatment: reanalysis of the randomized placebo-controlled studies of fluoxetine and venlafaxine. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2012 Feb 9. Select to access the abstract on PubMed.®


Weinberger DM, Simonsen L, Jordan R, et al. Impact of the 2009 influenza pandemic on pneumococcal pneumonia hospitalizations in the United States. J Infect Dis 2012 Feb; 205(3):458-65. Select to access the abstract on PubMed.®


Donohue JM, Morden NE, Gellad WF, et al. Sources of regional variation in Medicare Part D drug spending. N Engl J Med 2012 Feb 9; 366(6):530-8. Select to access the abstract on PubMed.®


Laws MB, Beach MC, Lee Y, et al. Provider-patient adherence dialogue in HIV care: results of a multisite study. AIDS Behav 2012 Jan 31 [Epub ahead of print.] Select to access the abstract on PubMed.®


Chen J, Ross JS, Carlson MD, et al. Skilled nursing facility referral and hospital readmission rates after heart failure or myocardial infarction. Am J Med 2012 Jan; 125(1):100.e1-100.e9. Select to access the abstract on PubMed.®


Beukelman T, Haynes K, Curtis JR, et al. Rates of malignancy associated with juvenile idiopathic arthritis and its treatment. Arthritis Rheum 2012 Feb 10 [Epub ahead of print.] Select to access the abstract on PubMed.®


Singh H, Giardina TD, Forjuoh SN, et al. Electronic health record-based surveillance of diagnostic errors in primary care. BMJ Qual Saf 2012 Feb; 21(2):93-100 [Epub ahead of print.] Select to access the abstract on PubMed.®


Kesselheim AS, Lee JL, Avorn J, et al. Conflict of interest in oncology publications: a survey of disclosure policies and statements. Cancer 2012 Jan 1; 118(1):188-95. Select to access the abstract on PubMed.®



Contact Information 

Please address comments and questions regarding the AHRQ Electronic Newsletter to Nancy Comfort at Nancy.Comfort@ahrq.hhs.gov or (301) 427-1866.