New AHRQ Director Named

Electronic Newsletter, Issue 392

AHRQ's Electronic Newsletter summarizes Agency research and programmatic activities.

August 19, 2013


AHRQ Stats

Injury, poisoning, and respiratory disorders were the most common reasons for the 25.5 million emergency department visits among children younger than 18 years old in 2010. (Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Statistical Brief, #157: Overview of Children in the Emergency Department, 2010.)

Today's Headlines

  1. New AHRQ Director Named.
  2. AHRQ Announces Treatment Options Initiative to Help Patients.
  3. New Proactive Risk Assessment Study Identifies Hazards Leading to Surgical Site Infections at Ambulatory Surgical Centers.
  4. New AHRQ Report on Improving Health Care Quality Through Clinician Use of Health IT.
  5. AHRQ's Health Care Innovations Exchange Focuses on Culturally Appropriate Care and Health Education.
  6. Using Electronic Health Records to Improve Patient Education.
  7. Register Now for AHRQ's MEPS Data Users' Workshop Sept. 23-24.
  8. AHRQ's PSNet Offers Primer on Understanding a Systems Approach to Medical Errors.
  9. AHRQ in the professional literature.

1. New AHRQ Director Named

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced that Richard Kronick, Ph.D., will become the next Director of AHRQ upon Carolyn Clancy's departure later this month. Dr. Kronick joined the Department in January 2010 as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, overseeing the Office of Health Policy. In that role, he has conducted and coordinated research on policies relating to public health; health care delivery; health insurance; and health care financing programs, including Medicare, Medicaid, State Children's Health Insurance Program, and private insurance coverage. His work, and that of the Office of Health Policy under his leadership, has been integral to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Additionally, his team has provided insight and information critical to our effort to improve the health of the nation. Prior to joining HHS, Dr. Kronick conducted health policy research in academia as well as in federal and state government, including as Director of Policy and Reimbursement for the Medicaid Division of the Massachusetts Department of Public Welfare, and most recently, as a Professor and Chief of the Division of Health Care Sciences in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of California, San Diego. "AHRQ has important work ahead, and I look forward to continuing to work with Dr. Kronick in this new role," Secretary Sebelius said in a statement.

2. AHRQ Announces Treatment Options Initiative to Help Patients

AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program announces new resources to help educate patients about the importance of exploring their treatment options, comparing the benefits and risks of each, and preparing to discuss these options with their health care providers. Three animated videos focus on newly diagnosed patients, considering treatment options, and caring for a loved one. Also available are two new Facebook pages—Treatment Options: Explore. Compare. Prepare. and Toma Las Riendas: Informate. Compara. Preparate. —that encourage patients to obtain AHRQ's unbiased treatment information to become better informed before talking with their health care team about treatment options. Patients and caregivers also can get short health messages and tips directly via their mobile phones with AHRQ's new text messaging program. To sign up, text COMPARE to 22764 for messages in English or text MISALUD to 22764 for messages in Spanish. Select to access a wide variety of resources from the Treatment Options initiative.

3. New Proactive Risk Assessment Study Identifies Hazards Leading to Surgical Site Infections at Ambulatory Surgical Centers

A recently completed AHRQ-funded study explores the use of a proactive risk assessment to identify hazards that can lead to surgical site infections in the ambulatory surgery center setting. Select to access the report, "Proactive Risk Assessment of Surgical Site Infections in Ambulatory Surgery Centers," which describes the use of a tool called the Socio-Technical Probabilistic Risk Assessment to estimate the risk of surgical site infections in the ambulatory surgery environment. The report examines single point failures as well as combinations of events that lead to the outcome of interest and proposes an intervention for future deployment.

4. New AHRQ Report on Improving Health Care Quality Through Clinician Use of Health IT

A new AHRQ report found that providing patient-specific decision support, supporting clinical workflow, and coordinating care are ways health information technology (IT) can help clinicians and patients make decisions that may lead to better outcomes. The report, titled "Findings and Lessons From the Improving Quality Through Clinician Use of Health IT Grant Initiative," documents the findings of more than 20 research projects that investigated how health IT applications can assist providers in providing evidence-based care. Multiple studies showed positive impacts on process and intermediate outcomes. Select to access the report.

5. AHRQ's Health Care Innovations Exchange Focuses on Culturally Appropriate Care and Health Education

The latest issue of AHRQ's Health Care Innovations Exchange features three programs that provide successful examples of culturally appropriate care and health education. In one of the featured profiles, the University of California, Irvine, used a bilingual nurse practitioner to deliver a low-cost, community-based, culturally tailored education program to low-income, predominantly elderly Korean immigrants with type 2 diabetes, with the goal of improving their ability to self-manage the disease. The nurse practitioner conducted two educational sessions in Korean to review with patients the basic pathology of diabetes, common complications and medical treatments, and culturally tailored self-management strategies. The sessions were based on content developed by the American Diabetes Association and the National Diabetes Education Program. The program improved self-management behaviors and some of the key biological outcomes of diabetes: better blood glucose control, higher levels of "good" cholesterol, and reductions in waist circumference. Select to access more innovation profiles, tools, and resources related to culturally appropriate health care and resources and information related to cultural and linguistic competence.

6. Using Electronic Health Records to Improve Patient Education

Read about the results of AHRQ-funded research in the book chapter, "Improving Patient Education With Electronic Health Records." This research investigated the best approaches for using EHRs to provide patients with materials that are understandable and actionable, especially those with limited health literacy and English proficiency. The chapter includes:

  • A review of existing EHR systems to understand how they are designed and used to deliver patient information.
  • Two case studies of health systems using EHRs to address patient education for populations with limited literacy or English proficiency.
  • Implications for Meaningful Use criteria.

The chapter is included in the report, Health Information Technology in the United States: Better Information Systems for Better Care, 2013, published by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

7. Register Now for AHRQ's MEPS Data Users' Workshop Sept. 23-24

A few seats remain for the 2-day hands-on AHRQ Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) Data Users' Workshop in Rockville, MD, on September 23–24. The workshop is designed for health services researchers who have a background or interest in using national health surveys. The workshop is free and use of computer laptops will be provided. The registration deadline is August 30 and will be limited to 50 participants. Select to register for the workshop.

8. AHRQ's PSNet Offers Primer on Understanding a Systems Approach to Medical Errors

Most errors are the result of poorly designed systems rather than individual failings that reflect inadequate knowledge or skill, according to a primer available on AHRQ's Patient Safety Network (PSNet). The primer provides background on systems approach theory and relevant, research-based information to help health care providers apply this thinking to health care so they can identify situations or factors likely to give rise to human error. It also introduces methods that can be used to change the underlying systems of care to reduce the occurrence of errors and minimize their impact on patients. Select to access the full patient safety primer, titled "Systems Approach."

9. AHRQ in the Professional Literature

Giordano TP, Rodriguez S, Zhang H, et al. Effect of a clinic-wide social marketing campaign to improve adherence to antiretroviral therapy for HIV infection. AIDS Behav 2013 Jan; 17(1):10412. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Pesis-Katz I, Phelps CE, Temkin-Greener H, Spector WD, et al. Making difficult decisions: the role of quality of care in choosing a nursing home. Am J Public Health 2013 Mar 14. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Krishnan JA, Lindenauer PK, Au DH, et al. Stakeholder priorities for comparative effectiveness research in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Am J Crit Care Med 2013 Feb 1; 187(3):320-6. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Hilligoss B, Cohen MD. The unappreciated challenges of between-unit handoffs: negotiating and coordinating across boundaries. Ann Emerg Med 2013 Feb; 61(2):155-60. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Lu DW, Guenther E, Wesley, Gallagher TH. Disclosure of harmful medical errors in out-of-hospital care. Ann Emerg Med 2013 Feb; 61(2):215-21. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Greenstein EA, Arora VM, Staisiunas PG, et al. Characterising physician listening behavior during hospitalist handoffs using the HEAR checklist. BMJ Qual Saf 2013 Mar; 22(3):203-9. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Seicean A, Seicean S, Schiltz NK, et al. Short-term outcomes of craniotomy for malignant brain tumors in the elderly. Cancer 2013 Mar 1; 119(5):1058-64. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Mullen MT, Kasner SE, Kallan MJ, Kleindorfer DO, Albright KC, Carr BG. Joint Commission primary stroke centers utilize more rt-PA in the Nationwide Inpatient Sample. J Am Heart Assoc 2013 Mar 26; 2(2):e000071. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

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Current as of August 2013
Internet Citation: New AHRQ Director Named: Electronic Newsletter, Issue 392. August 2013. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/e-newsletter/392.html