AHRQ-Funded Study Finds Patient Characteristics and Preferences Can Impact the Use of Patient Portals

Electronic Newsletter, Issue 343

The AHRQ Electronic Newsletter is issued periodically and summarizes Agency research and programmatic activities.

May 14, 2012

Today's Headlines

  1. AHRQ-funded study finds patient characteristics and preferences can impact the use of patient portals.
  2. May issue of AHRQ's WebM&M is now available.
  3. AHRQ's Health Care Innovations Exchange focuses on pediatric asthma care.
  4. New Data Points report on use of proton beam radiotherapy in the U.S. Medicare population.
  5. AHRQ seeks nominations for U.S. Preventive Services Task Force members.
  6. AHRQ requests nominations for its National Advisory Council.
  7. Highlights from AHRQ's Research Activities monthly newsletter.
  8. Learn about HCUP data and tools at 2012 AcademyHealth seminar AHRQ's HCUP Project at 2012 AcademyHealth.
  9. AHRQ's HCUP project at 2012 AcademyHealth.
  10. AHRQ's Call for HCUP Outstanding Article Nominations.
  11. AHRQ in the professional literature.

1. AHRQ-Funded Study Finds Patient Characteristics and Preferences Can Impact the Use of Patient Portals

Patients who enroll and use a patient portal have different demographic characteristics and interest levels in certain functions (e-mailing providers, viewing medical records online, and making appointments) than those who don't, according to a new AHRQ-funded study. The study examined differences among primary care patients' perceptions as they considered using, activating, and experiencing a health care portal. While many patients indicated a hypothetical interest in using such a portal, those who actually enroll and use portals may represent a unique subgroup of a practice's or health system's population, the study suggested. In addition, it found that patients initially perceived only limited improvements in care because of the portal. The study findings provide insight into how practices can select and maintain portal functions that will be of greater use to patients. "Consistency of Patient Preferences about a Secure Internet-based Patient Communications Portal: Contemplating, Enrolling, and Using," was published in the April 18 edition of the American Journal of Medical Quality. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®. 

2. May Issue of AHRQ's WebM&M Is Now Available

The May issue of AHRQ's WebM&M explores how trigger tool methods to quantify levels of harm have transformed patient safety measurement. The Perspectives on Safety interview features David C. Classen, M.D., Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Utah, and a leading developer of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement's global trigger tool. In the accompanying perspective, Paul J. Sharek, M.D., Stanford University School of Medicine, outlines how the trigger tool approach helps to identify adverse events more efficiently than other detection methods. The Spotlight Case provides an example of how inadequate sign-out prevented members of a night float team from understanding a patient's mental status changes, causing a prolonged stay in the intensive care unit. The commentary, written by Jeanne M. Farnan, M.D., and Vineet M. Arora, M.D., both of the University of Chicago, details the growing need for standardized handoff communication in the wake of 2011 changes to the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education's duty hours regulations. Physicians and nurses can receive free CME, CEU, or trainee certification by taking the Spotlight Quiz. 

3. AHRQ's Health Care Innovations Exchange Focuses on Pediatric Asthma Care

The May 9 issue of AHRQ's Health Care Innovations Exchange features profiles of two programs that improved pediatric asthma care by increasing adherence to well-established care guidelines. One such profile describes a quality improvement project by the American Academy of Pediatrics that helped 49 pediatric practices in Alabama, Maine, Ohio, and Oregon better adhere to established asthma care guidelines. Support included upfront training on quality improvement concepts, followed by ongoing sharing of data and best practices and assistance with problem-solving. The program improved adherence to recommended care processes and led to better asthma control, as the percentage of patients at participating practices whose asthma was well-controlled (as defined by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute) rose from 58 percent to 72 percent. Select to read more profiles of innovations related to pediatric asthma on the Health Care Innovations Exchange Web Site, which contains more than 700 searchable innovations and 1,500 QualityTools. 

4. New Data Points Report on Use of Proton Beam Radiotherapy in the U.S. Medicare Population

A new Data Points report, Proton Beam Radiotherapy in the U.S. Medicare Population: Growth in Use Between 2006 and 2009, is available. This report focuses on the growth in use among Medicare beneficiaries receiving proton beam radiotherapy. Select to access the report. 

5. AHRQ Seeks Nominations for U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Members

AHRQ invites nominations of individuals qualified to serve as members of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). Task Force members volunteer their time and are appointed by the Director of AHRQ to serve four-year terms. The appointment process is one way that AHRQ fulfills its congressionally mandated role to support the Task Force. AHRQ encourages nominations of women, members of minority populations, and persons with disabilities. The USPSTF is an independent group of national experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine that works to improve the health of all Americans by making evidence-based recommendations about clinical preventive services such as screenings, counseling services, or preventive medications. Select for more information about the Task Force. Qualified individuals may self-nominate or receive a nomination from others. Select to submit nomination. Nominations for consideration for appointments in January 2013 are due by May 15. Nominations are accepted all year round, and those received after May 15 will be considered for 2014. 

6. AHRQ Requests Nominations for its National Advisory Council

AHRQ is seeking nominations for seven new public members for its National Advisory Council for Healthcare Research and Quality, which advises the Secretary of HHS and the Director of AHRQ on matters related to activities of the Agency to improve the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care for all Americans. The 21-member Council meets in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area, generally in Rockville, MD, approximately three times a year. Members generally serve three-year terms, and new members will start their service in 2012. AHRQ seeks individuals who are distinguished in the conduct of research, demonstration projects and evaluations with respect to health care; in the fields of health care quality research or health care improvement; in the practice of medicine or other health professions; in the private health care sector (including health plans, providers, purchasers) or administrators of health care delivery systems; in the fields of health care economics, information systems, law, ethics, business, or public policy; and in representing the interests of patients and consumers of health care. Nominations are due July 3. Select to access the May 3 Federal Register notice. 

7. Highlights from AHRQ's Research Activities Monthly Newsletter

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

  • Dissemination and implementation of clinical trial results are needed to encourage recommended practices.

    Disseminating results from clinical trials to clinicians is critical to bring new guidelines and therapies into practice. This is certainly the case for HIV/AIDS care, where new drugs and treatments can be life-saving to patients. Recently, researchers investigated the diffusion, dissemination, and implementation of findings from an AIDS clinical trial. Their knowledge-transfer initiative resulted in changes in routine clinical practice brought about by active dissemination and implementation from department leaders. Select to read this article.

Other articles include:

  • Health information exchange can save money by reducing admissions from the emergency department.
  • Affordable Care Act likely to create uncertainties in Medicaid enrollment, costs, and physician workforce needs.
  • Modeling inequalities helps to develop cervical cancer screening strategies that can improve outcomes and reduce disparities.
  • Children with special health care needs with disabilities have greater unmet health care needs than those without disabilities.

Select to read these articles and others.

8. Learn About HCUP Data and Tools at 2012 AcademyHeatlhSeminar in Health Services Research Methods

Learn how to use the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) at the 2012 AcademyHealth pre-conference meeting. The seminar, entitled "HCUP In-Depth and a Special Focus on Repeated Use of Health Care Services (Revisits/Readmissions)" will be held on June 23 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and will give in-depth exposure to HCUP resources through instructor-led training on HCUP databases and related tools. Faculty will cover the basics, from loading these large data files to more advanced topics, including calculating national estimates, conducting trend analyses, and performing revisit/readmission analyses. Select for more information and to register. 

9. AHRQ's HCUP Project at 2012 AcademyHealth

Get an overview of the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) at 2012 Academy Health. The session, entitled "HCUP Data and Tools for Research," will be held on June 25 from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and will provide an overview of HCUP. HCUP provides all-payer, multi-year claims-based data on hospital inpatient, emergency department, and ambulatory surgery care, including the ability to track patients over time and across settings (e.g., readmissions). Select for more information. 

10. AHRQ's Call for HCUP Outstanding Article Nominations

Nominations are being accepted for HCUP's Outstanding Article of the Year Awards, which will recognize researchers published in peer-reviewed journals in 2011 that used the HCUP databases to explore and address health care research topics and issues. Work honored will demonstrate how HCUP has contributed to the health care services field. Researchers may self-nominate or be nominated by another individual (e.g., a colleague of the author or authors). Posters on the chosen recipients' articles will be produced on their behalf and displayed at the AHRQ Annual Meeting, to be held September 9-12 at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in Bethesda, MD. The nomination period closes Friday, June 29. Select for complete award information. 

11. 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.

Kwon S, Thompson R, Florence M, et al. -blocker continuation after noncardiac surgery: a report from the Surgical Care and Outcomes Assessment Program. Arch Surg 2012 Jan 16. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Herrin J, da Graca B, Nicewander D, et al. The effectiveness of implementing an electronic health record on diabetes care and outcomes. Health Serv Res 2012 Jan 17. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Day HR, Perencevich EN, Harris AD, et al. Association between contact precautions and delirium at a tertiary care center. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2012 Jan; 33(1):34-9. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Gold R, DeVoe JE, McIntire PJ, et al. Receipt of diabetes preventive care among safety net patients associated with differing levels of insurance coverage. J Am Board Fam Med 2012 Jan; 25(1):42-9. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Fleurant M, Kell R, Jenter C, et al. Factors associated with difficult electronic health record implementation in office practice. J Am Med Inform Assoc 2012 Jan 16. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Giovannetti ER, Wolff JL, Xue QL, et al. Difficulty assisting with health care tasks among caregivers of multimorbid older adults. J Gen Intern Med 2012 Jan; 27(1):37-44. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

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Current as of May 2012
Internet Citation: AHRQ-Funded Study Finds Patient Characteristics and Preferences Can Impact the Use of Patient Portals: Electronic Newsletter, Issue 343. May 2012. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/e-newsletter/343.html