New AHRQ Campaign Encourages Hispanics to Work with Their Doctors to Make the Best Treatment Decisions

Electronic Newsletter, Issue 329

Electronic Newsletter

November 18, 2011

AHRQ News and Numbers

Women and men ages 45 to 64 were 2.5 times more likely to be hospitalized for knee replacement surgery in 2009 than in 1997. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, HCUP, HCUP Facts and Figures: Statistics on Hospital-Based Care in the United States, 2009.]

Today's Headlines

  1. New AHRQ campaign encourages Hispanics to work with their doctors to make the best treatment decisions
  2. Evidence is weak on whole-body vibration therapy for osteoporosis
  3. New review questions benefits of screening and treatment of subclinical hypo/hyperthyroidism
  4. Needs for future research
  5. Methods for future research
  6. Highlights from most recent monthly newsletter
  7. AHRQ in the professional literature

1. New AHRQ Campaign Encourages Hispanics to Work with Their Doctors to Make the Best Treatment Decisions

AHRQ is partnering with Hispanic-serving organizations to promote the Agency's Spanish-language resources and to encourage consumers to become more active partners in their health care. AHRQ's easy-to-read resources help consumers understand the benefits and risks of treatment options and encourage shared decisionmaking between patients and their health care teams. To assist in this effort, AHRQ launched the "Toma las riendas" ("Take the reins") campaign, a nationwide effort to encourage Hispanics to take control of their health and explore treatment options. The campaign addresses the need for high-quality health information in Spanish. It promotes a wide variety of resources produced by AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program. These tools include consumer-friendly publications that summarize treatment options for common health conditions and help Hispanics work with their health care teams to select their best treatment option. The tools offer factual, unbiased information to help answer questions such as: What are the benefits and risks of different medical treatment? How strong is the science behind each option? Which treatment is most likely to work best for me? To encourage use of the materials and engage Hispanics in the discussion, AHRQ has also launched a Facebook Page. Select to access AHRQ's Spanish-language Effective Health Care Program patient guides. Print copies are available by sending an E-mail to ahrqpubs@ahrq.gov. Select for other AHRQ Spanish-language consumer tools. Select to read our press release.

2. Evidence is Weak on Whole-Body Vibration Therapy for Osteoporosis

Little scientific evidence is available to evaluate the benefits and harms of whole-body vibration therapy for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis, and claims about its effectiveness cannot be made without further research, a new report from AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program finds. Whole-Body Vibration Therapy for Osteoporosis compares the current body of research on this treatment and identifies key questions for future research. Osteoporosis is a significant public health problem that leads to increased bone fragility and greater fracture risk, especially of the wrist, hip, and spine. In the United States an estimated 1.5 million yearly fractures due to osteoporosis result in more than 500,000 hospitalizations, 800,000 emergency room visits, 2.6 million physician office visits, and 180,000 nursing home placements. By 2020, approximately half of all older Americans will be at risk for fractures from osteoporosis or osteopenia, a condition that can progress to osteoporosis.

3. New Review Questions Benefits of Screening and Treatment of Subclinical Hypo/Hyperthyroidism

A new research review, Effectiveness of Screening and Treatment of Subclinical Hypothyroidism or Subclinical Hyperthyroidism finds that the benefits and harms of screening for subclinical thyroid dysfunction are inadequately studied. Screening and early treatment are also of questionable benefit. The report updates a 2004 U. S. Preventive Services Task Force report on the subject.

4. Needs for Future Research

Reports from AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program identify gaps in clinical evidence so that researchers and funders can identify and explore projects that improve the body of knowledge available to decisionmakers. Eight reports in the Future Research Needs series identify these evidence gaps, including management of gestational diabetes, treating prostate cancer and treating common hip fracture. An additional 40 reports are expected over the next several years. Reports are produced by AHRQ-supported Evidence-based Practice Centers, which conduct systematic reviews of existing research on the effectiveness, comparative effectiveness, and comparative harms of different health care interventions. Select to access and read the Future Research Needs reports.

5. Methods for Future Research

A new series of reports titled, Future Research Needs—Methods Research, is now available from AHRQ. These publications, produced by AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program, provide guidance on methodological approaches to identifying gaps in clinical evidence. They are intended to support the ongoing effort to evaluate and improve the knowledge base in priority clinical areas. The series complements the Future Research Needs series, which identifies gaps in clinical evidence so that researchers and funders can improve the body of knowledge to health care decisionmakers. Select to access and read the methods research series.

6. Highlights from Most Recent Monthly Newsletter

The November issue of Research Activities is available online. Key articles include:

  • Nearly 1 in 10 outpatient computerized prescriptions contains errors.

    Electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) has helped reduce medication errors and adverse drug events (ADEs) in a variety of health care settings, including the outpatient environment. However, computer-generated prescriptions can also introduce a new level of errors. A new study found that about 1 in 10 computer-generated prescriptions had at least 1 error. In addition, a third of these errors had the potential for harm. Massachusetts researchers reviewed 3,850 computer-generated prescriptions from a retail outpatient pharmacy chain located in three States. During a 4-week period, the pharmacy sent all computer-generated prescriptions to the study's research group. They were then reviewed by an independent clinical review panel. A total of 452 (11.7 percent) prescriptions were found to have 466 errors in them. More than a third of these errors (35.0 percent) were classified as potential ADEs. None of the ADEs were considered life-threatening; they were deemed either significant (58.3 percent) or serious (41.7 percent). The majority of medication errors involved anti-infectives, while nervous-system drugs accounted for the most ADEs. Select to read this article.

Other articles include:

  • Primary care model helps treat underserved patients with hepatitis C virus infection.
  • Fecal occult blood tests and followup need to be better targeted to healthy older adults.
  • Physicians who use electronic health records more intensively are more likely to use patient registries to improve care.
  • Recent trends in hospital use by children and youths are a mixed bag—lower for teen pregnancies, much higher for skin infections.

Select to read these articles and others.

7. AHRQ in the Professional Literature

We are providing the following hyperlinks to journal abstracts through PubMed® for your convenience. Unfortunately, some of you may not be able to access the abstracts because of firewalls or specific settings on your individual computer systems. If you are having problems, you should ask your technical support staff for possible remedies.

McKee MM, Barnett SL, Block BC, et al. Impact of communication on preventive services among deaf American Sign Language users. Am J Prev Med 2011 Jul; 41(1):75-9. Select to access the abstract on PubMed.®

Garman AN, McAlearney AS, Harrison MI, et al. High-performance work systems in health care management, Part 1: development of an evidence-informed model. Health Care Manage Rev 2011 Jul-Sep; 36(3):201-13. Select to access the abstract on PubMed.®

Sarkar IN, Butte AJ, Lussier YA, et al. Translational bioinformatics: linking knowledge across biological and clinical realms. J Am Med Inform Assoc 2011 Jul; 18(4):354-7. Select to access the abstract on PubMed.®

Tucker Edmonds B, Fager C, Srinivas S, et al. Predictors of cesarean delivery for periviable neonates. Obstet Gynecol 2011 Jul; 118(1):49-56. Select to access the abstract on PubMed.®

Laiteerapong N, Key CE, Naylor KB, et al. A resident-led quality improvement initiative to improve obesity screening. Am J Med Qual 2011 Jul-Aug; 26(4):315-22. Select to access the abstract on PubMed.®

Mathews R, Peterson ED, Li S, et al. Use of emergency medical service transport among patients with ST-segment-elevation myocardial infarction: findings from the National Cardiovascular Data Registry Acute Coronary Treatment Intervention Outcomes Network Registry—Get with the Guidelines. Circulation 2011 Jul 12; 124(2):154-63. Select to access the abstract on PubMed.®

Fagnan LJ, Dorr DA, Davis M, et al. Turning on the care coordination switch in rural primary care: voices from the practices—clinician champions, clinician partners, administrators, and nurse care managers. J Ambul Care Manage 2011 Jul-Sep; 34(3):304-18. Select to access the abstract on PubMed.®

Lee JK, Parisi SM, Akers AY, et al. The impact of contraceptive counseling in primary care on contraceptive use. J Gen Intern Med 2011 Jul; 26(7):731-6. Select to access the abstract on PubMed.®

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Current as of November 2011
Internet Citation: New AHRQ Campaign Encourages Hispanics to Work with Their Doctors to Make the Best Treatment Decisions: Electronic Newsletter, Issue 329. November 2011. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/e-newsletter/329.html