AHRQ Finds Increase in Hospitalizations Due to Opioid Overuse

Electronic Newsletter, Issue 436

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

August 12, 2014


AHRQ Stats

The proportion of children with prescription drug costs was lower in 2011 than in 2001. In addition, the proportion of expenses for office-based medical care and dental visits for children was slightly higher in 2011 than in 2001. (Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Statistical Brief #428: Trends in Health Care Expenditures for Children under Age 18: 2001, 2006, and 2011.)

Today's Headlines

  1. AHRQ Finds Increase in Hospitalizations Due to Opioid Overuse.
  2. New AHRQ Publication Looks at Methods and Implementation Approaches Used for HAI Research Projects.
  3. Behavioral Intervention Therapies Positive for Children With Autism.
  4. Nominations Being Accepted for AHRQ National Advisory Council.
  5. New AHRQ Fact Sheet Provides Guidance on External Supports To Improve Primary Care.
  6. August 13 Webinar To Focus on Preventing Falls in Long-Term Care Settings .
  7. Register Now for August 19 National Quality Strategy Webinar.
  8. Registration Now Open for September 24 HCUP Data Users' Workshop.
  9. AHRQ in the professional literature.

1. AHRQ Finds Increase in Hospitalizations Due to Opioid Overuse

The rate of hospitalizations for overuse of pain medications has increased more than 150 percent since 1993, according to a new statistical brief from AHRQ. The brief's authors examined data from AHRQ's Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) and found that the rate of hospital stays involving opioid (pain medication) overuse among adults increased from 116.7 to 295.6 stays per 100,000 population from 1993 to 2012. The authors found that hospitalization rates were climbing among every adult age group and in every region of the country, making the problem more uniformly widespread than has previously been observed. The most significant increases in rates were among women, people living in the Midwest, and among people 45 and older. The data also show that in 1993, Medicaid was billed for more than twice as many hospitalizations involving opioid overuse as any other payer, but by 2012 these differences diminished, and the largest increase was seen for discharges billed to Medicare. Authors of the brief, "Hospital Inpatient Utilization Related to Opioid Overuse Among Adults, 1993–2012," are Pamela L. Owens, Ph.D., Raynard E. Washington, Ph.D., and Richard Kronick, Ph.D., from AHRQ; Marguerite L. Barrett, M.S., from M.L. Barrett Inc.; and Audrey J. Weiss, Ph.D., from Truven Health Analytics

2. New AHRQ Publication Looks at Methods and Implementation Approaches Used for HAI Research Projects

AHRQ's latest healthcare-associated infection (HAI) resource is now available. Advances in the Prevention and Control of HAIs contains 19 original articles focused on the methods and implementation approaches that AHRQ-funded researchers used in their projects aimed at HAI prevention and risk identification for quality improvement. For over a decade, AHRQ has invested in research and implementation projects to prevent HAIs in diverse health care settings. This new publication features a selection of articles that will advance the professional knowledge about HAIs, including topics such as:

  • Reducing cardiac and surgical site infections (SSI), including surveillance techniques.
  • Overcoming staff barriers in ICUs to prevent infections.
  • Decreasing antibiotic overuse in primary care.
  • Reducing HAIs in dialysis centers.
  • Improving antibiotic use in nursing homes.
  • Developing the capacity to implement antimicrobial stewardship.
  • Detecting and treating MRSA in nursing homes and the community.

Print copies of Advances in the Prevention and Control of HAIs are available at no charge. They can be ordered via Email or by calling the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse at 1-800-358-9295 and asking for AHRQ Publication No. 14-0003.

3. Behavioral Intervention Therapies Positive for Children With Autism

New research suggests that behavior-focused therapies have positive results for some children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to an updated AHRQ research review. The update found that the quality of research studies on these therapies has improved since AHRQ's 2011 review of studies on ASD, and that many young children who receive early intervention with intensive, long-term applied behavior analysis types of approaches showed improvements in cognitive and language skills, compared with children receiving other interventions. The size of these effects varied in different research studies, likely because of differences in the children participating in the studies, according to the review, "Therapies for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder: Behavioral Interventions Update." It indicated that the effects of the applied behavior analysis-based interventions on ASD symptoms related to communication difficulties and repetitive behaviors are less clear. Therapies focusing on social skills showed some positive effects on social behaviors for older children in small studies.

4. Nominations Being Accepted for AHRQ National Advisory Council

AHRQ is seeking nominations for seven new public members to serve on the National Advisory Council for Healthcare Research and Quality. The Council 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, D.C., metropolitan area, generally in Rockville, Maryland, approximately three times a year. Members generally serve three-year terms, and the new members will start their service in spring 2015. 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 representing the private health care sector (including health plans, providers and 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 on or before August 16. A Federal Register notice has instructions for submitting nominations.

5. New AHRQ Fact Sheet Provides Guidance on External Supports To Improve Primary Care

Engaging primary care practices in quality improvement (QI) activities is essential to improving the health of the population, enhancing patient experiences and outcomes and reducing the per capita cost of care. A new fact sheet from AHRQ, "Quality Improvement in Primary Care: External Supports for Practices," provides information and resources on four categories of external supports that can be used alone or in combination to assist practices:

  • Data feedback and benchmarking.
  • Practice facilitation or coaching.
  • Expert consultation, also called peer-to-peer mentoring.
  • Shared learning or learning collaboratives.

The fact sheet builds on two previous decisionmaker briefs about building QI capacity and describes examples from the AHRQ Infrastructure for Maintaining Primary Care Transformation (IMPaCT) initiative, which awarded four cooperative grants to support state-level QI efforts. To learn more about how to improve primary care, visit AHRQ's Prevention & Chronic Care Program section on the agency's Web site.

6. August 13 Webinar To Focus on Preventing Falls in Long-Term Care Settings

AHRQ is hosting the fourth in a series of four webinars August 13 from 1 to 2 p.m. ET on the use of "Improving Patient Safety in Long-Term Care Facilities Training Modules". The webinar, developed for nurses and staff educators in long-term care facilities, will focus on falls prevention and management. Continuing education credits will be available to participants at no cost. Registration is free, but space is limited. The first three webinars provided an overview of the series, tools to train staff on how to detect change in a resident's condition and tools on how best to communicate change in a resident's condition. Registration is open.

7. Register Now for August 19 National Quality Strategy Webinar

A webinar on August 19 from 3 to 4 p.m. ET, "Using the Nine Levers to Achieve Results," will help participants learn about practical ways to use the nine National Quality Strategy levers. Experts from the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality and the Oregon Health Care Quality Corporation, both statewide multi-stakeholder consortiums, will discuss how their organizations are using the levers to provide better, more affordable care to individuals and the community. The nine levers, which represent core business functions and other tools, can be used by any organization to align to the National Quality Strategy. Registration is open.

8. Registration Now Open for September 24 HCUP Data Users' Workshop

The Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) Data Users' Workshop is scheduled for September 24 at the AHRQ Conference Center in Rockville, Maryland. The workshop is a one-day intermediate-level course for health services researchers and analysts who want to learn more about using HCUP databases and products. Those interested in learning about conducting revisit and readmission analyses would especially benefit from the workshop. Computers will be provided and instructor-led programming examples will be presented in the SAS programming language. It is highly recommended that attendees review the HCUP Online Overview Course prior to the workshop. Registration details are on the HCUP User Support Web site. Please contact HCUP User Support with any questions.

9. AHRQ in the Professional Literature

Politi MC, Kaphingst KA, Kreuter M, et al. Knowledge of health insurance terminology and details among the uninsured. Med Care Res Rev 2014 Feb;71(1):85-98. Epub 2013 Oct 24. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Gonzalez AA, Dimick JB, Birkmeyer JD, et al. Understanding the volume-outcome effect in cardiovascular surgery: the role of failure to rescue. JAMA Surg 2014 Feb;149(2):119-23. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Paustian ML, Alexander JA, El Reda DK, et al. Partial and incremental PCMH practice transformation: implications for quality and costs. Health Serv Res 2014 Feb;49(1):52-74. Epub 2013 Jul 5. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Nundy S, Dick JJ, Chou CH, et al. Mobile phone diabetes project led to improved glycemic control and net savings for Chicago plan participants. Health Aff (Millwood). 2014 Feb;33(2):265-72. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Carey K, Lin MY. Hospital length of stay and readmission: an early investigation. Med Care Res Rev 2014 Feb;71(1):99-111. Epub 2013 Oct 16. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Fleming NS, Becker ER, Culler SD, et al. The impact of electronic health records on workflow and financial measures in primary care practices. Health Serv Res 2014 Feb;49(1 Pt 2):405-20. Epub 2013 Dec 21. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Kutcher MA, Brennan JM, Rao SV, et al. Comparative effectiveness of drug-eluting stents on long-term outcomes in elderly patients treated for in-stent restenosis: a report from the National Cardiovascular Data Registry. Catheter Cardiovasc Interv 2014 Feb 1;83(2):171-81. Epub 2013 Aug 31. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Devers KJ, Foster L, Brach C. Nine states' use of collaboratives to improve children's health care quality in Medicaid and CHIP. Acad Pediatr 2013 Nov-Dec;13(6 Suppl):S95-S102. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.


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Current as of August 2014
Internet Citation: AHRQ Finds Increase in Hospitalizations Due to Opioid Overuse: Electronic Newsletter, Issue 436. August 2014. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/e-newsletter/436.html