AHRQ 2012 Annual Conference Registration Now Open

Electronic Newsletter, Issue 348

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

July 6, 2012

AHRQ Stats

Between 2000 and 2009, rates of obstetric trauma (injury to the mother during the birth process) decreased by nearly 40 percent for both instrument-assisted births and births without the need of instruments. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, HCUP Statistical Brief #129: Rates of Obstetric Care, 2009.]

Today's Headlines

  1. AHRQ 2012 Annual Conference registration now open.
  2. Electronic health records help researchers harness data.
  3. Limited evidence on best strategies during mass casualty events.
  4. MONAHRQ® 3.0 available.
  5. AHRQ's Health Care Innovations Exchange focuses on clinical-community linkages to improve chronic disease care.
  6. Highlights from AHRQ's Research Activities monthly newsletter.
  7. AHRQ in the professional literature.

1. AHRQ 2012 Annual Conference registration now open

Registration for the AHRQ 2012 Annual Conference is now open. The conference will be held September 9-11 at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in Bethesda, MD. This year's conference theme is Moving Ahead: Leveraging Knowledge and Action to Improve Health Care Quality. Select for more information, including how to register. In addition, stay connected to the conference via AHRQ on Twitter. 

2. Electronic Health Records Help Researchers Harness Data

New initiatives funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and managed by AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program are establishing how electronic health records connected to shared databases can be used by scientists to conduct comparative effectiveness research (CER). The Electronic Data Methods Forum was established to advance knowledge on use of electronic clinical data to conduct CER, improve quality, and develop clinical decision support systems. National experts commissioned by the Forum have authored articles featured in a special supplement of this month's issue of Medical Care. Articles address the challenges of building infrastructure for CER with electronic clinical data. Obstacles and opportunities related to the three domains of analytic methods, clinical informatics, and data governance are highlighted. The analytic methods papers address challenges on how to assess data quality and approaches to developing cohorts for CER studies. The clinical informatics papers examine the capabilities and limitations of different informatics platforms to perform CER and practical considerations when using new clinical informatics approaches for CER. Articles on data governance address approaches to protect patients' confidentiality and privacy and to facilitate multisite Institutional Review Board approval for CER. Select to learn more about these projects, visit the Electronic Data Methods Forum Web site. Select to access the free articles. 

3. Limited Evidence on Best Strategies During Mass Casualty Events

Limited evidence exists to help policymakers and health care professionals identify the most effective strategies to allocate scarce resources during mass casualty events, according to a new AHRQ report. A mass casualty event, whether a natural event such as a hurricane, flood or disease outbreak, or man-made such as a bioterrorism attack, can occur suddenly and can severely challenge highly experienced and well-equipped health care providers and systems. Based on an evidence review conducted by researchers at AHRQ's Southern California RAND Evidence-based Practice Center, no single strategy to allocate resources during mass casualty events was found to be most effective. Led by Justin Timbie, Ph.D., and Art Kellerman, M.D., the researchers also found that commonly used field triage measures do not perform consistently during mass casualty events. They also found evidence suggesting that specific strategies influence the speed and efficiency of biological countermeasure dispensing during a bioterrorism attack or influenza pandemic. For example, delivering medicines to the public via postal carriers reaches more people faster than making them available at a centralized location. Although some promising strategies exist, additional research is needed to identify the optimal methods, techniques, and technologies to employ during mass casualty events. Select to access the report, Allocation of Scarce Resources During Mass Casualty Events. 

4. MONAHRQ® 3.0 Available

AHRQ has released version 3.0 of MONAHRQ® (My Own Network, Powered by AHRQ). This free desktop software tool helps organizations generate a health care reporting Web site using their own local hospital discharge data, health care quality measures from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' Hospital Compare, and/or HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) patient survey measures. The software is useful for hospitals and hospital associations, State health departments, health care data organizations, health plans, and Chartered Value Exchanges. MONAHRQ 3.0 adds four additional AHRQ Quality Indicators, including three composite measures; 12 additional Hospital Compare measures, including outpatient care and imaging use; and a new health topic on nursing sensitive care. It comes with updated AHRQ Quality Indicators software for Windows, updated Cost-to-Charge Ratio Files from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, and a number of new Web site customization features. Select for more information and to download MONAHRQ. 

5. AHRQ's Health Care Innovations Exchange Focuses on Clinical-Community Linkages to Improve Chronic Disease Care

The July 3 issue of AHRQ's Health Care Innovations Exchange features two profiles of partnerships between clinical practices and community organizations that leverage health provider teams and lay health advisors to improve the management of chronic diseases. One profile describes a public-private initiative that worked with community health teams to improve the delivery of preventive, health maintenance, and chronic care services in Vermont. The pilot program included incentive payments to providers who met National Committee for Quality Assurance-determined care standards, access to an insurer-funded team of community-based health providers, health information incorporated into a Web-based clinical tracking system, and interfaces with other State care coordination initiatives. Over a 4-year period, the pilot program experienced a 6 percent decrease in inpatient admissions and a 10 percent decrease in emergency department visits among participating practices. Select to read more profiles related to clinical-community linkages, including innovations and tools, on the Health Care Innovations Exchange Web site, which contains more than 700 searchable innovations and 1,500 QualityTools. 

6. Highlights from AHRQ's Research Activities Monthly Newsletter

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

  • Study identifies signals that may predict infant neurological impairment.

    Doctors use electronic fetal monitoring (EFM) when a woman is in labor to detect problems and prevent injury to the baby. However, because EFM tracks fetal heart rate (FHR) patterns and not neurological activity, its usefulness may be limited in preventing a birth-related neurological disability, such as cerebral palsy. A new study that examined FHR patterns finds that three other signals, when combined with routine EFM showing non-reassuring FHR patterns, may help predict whether a baby will be born with severe neurological damage. Select to read this article.

Other articles include:

  • Adjusting hospital admissions by day can help with overcrowding in children's hospitals.
  • Perceived reputation and other factors influence consumers' hospital choices.
  • Study identifies demographic and clinical factors related to fractures among older Americans.
  • Rise in prescription copays puts different patients at risk for non-adherence to medications.

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. 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.

Richards MR. Using the economics of certification to improve the safety and quality of male circumcision in developing countries: three models of implementation. Appl Health Econ Health Policy 2012 Mar 1; 10(2):77-85. Select to access the abstract on PubMed.®

Chin CT, Wang TY, Li S, et al. Comparison of the prognostic value of peak creatine kinase-MB and troponin levels among patients with acute myocardial infarction: a report from the Acute Coronary Treatment and Intervention Outcomes Network Registry-Get With The Guidelines. Clin Cardiol 2012 Mar 20. Epub ahead of print. Select to access the abstract on PubMed.®

Lomotan EA, Hoeksema LJ, Edmonds DE, et al. Evaluating the use of a computerized clinical decision support system for asthma by pediatric pulmonologists. Int J Med Inform 2012 Mar; 81(3):157-65. Select to access the abstract on PubMed.®

Shaikh U, Nettiksimmons J, Bell RA, et al. Accuracy of parental report and electronic health record documentation as measures of diet and physical activity counseling. Acad Pediatr 2012 Mar-Apr; 12(2):81-7. Select to access the abstract on PubMed.®

Sabin JA, Greenwald AG. The influence of implicit bias on treatment recommendations for 4 common pediatric conditions: pain, urinary tract infection, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and asthma. Am J Public Health 2012 Mar 15. Epub ahead of print. Select to access the abstract on PubMed.®

Bayliss EA, Ellis JL, Shoup JA, et al. Association of patient-centered outcomes with patient-reported and ICD-9-based morbidity measures. Ann Fam Med 2012 Mar/Apr; 10(2):126-33. Select to access the abstract on PubMed.®

Huybrechts KF, Schneeweiss S, Gerhard T, et al. Comparative safety of antipsychotic medications in nursing home residents. J Am Geriatr Soc 2012 Mar; 60(3):420-9. Select to access the abstract on PubMed.®

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Page last reviewed July 2012
Internet Citation: AHRQ 2012 Annual Conference Registration Now Open: Electronic Newsletter, Issue 348. July 2012. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/e-newsletter/348.html