EHC Program Inside Track Newsletter

Issue 8, October 2012
EHC Inside Track is a newsletter highlighting important news and developments from AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program.

In this issue:

Black Nurses Association Promotes EHC Program Tools for Patient Education

The National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) is continuing its ongoing efforts to encourage nurses to use unbiased, evidence-based health information from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to educate patients as they compare their treatment options.

AHRQ’s Effective Health Care (EHC) Program research "plays a critical role in shaping the nurse clinician/patient interventions, improving current care practices and ultimately improving better patient health outcomes," said NBNA Executive Director Millicent Gorham, PhD.

As part of its partnership with AHRQ, NBNA recently invited AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D., to highlight EHC Program resources in a plenary address at its annual conference. Dr. Clancy’s remarks at NBNA’s 40th Annual Institute and Conference emphasized the vital role of nurses and nurse practitioners in patient care, and how EHC Program materials can help in treatment decisionmaking and patient education. Nurses and nurse practitioners in attendance ordered more than 2,000 copies of EHC Program research summaries.

Nurses attending the conference were pleased to "learn more about how evidence-based research can be translated into practice by nurses at the bedside," said Dr. Gorham.

The EHC Program’s plain-language treatment summaries, available in formats for both clinicians and patients, can help nurses and nurse practitioners educate patients and help patients prepare for medical appointments.

The National Black Nurses Association represents more than 150,000 African American registered and licensed practical nurses, nursing students, and retired nurses.

NBNA member Iris Malone, DNP, FNP-BC, a family nurse practitioner and coordinator of Congregational Health Services at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center in LaFayette, LA, leads health education efforts for local churches and the surrounding community. She plans to distribute EHC Program materials at health fairs and noted that materials on high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, and bone health are particularly relevant to African Americans and seniors.

EHC Program materials "help you learn about an illness and provide helpful information such as how to recognize certain symptoms," said Malone. "Information like this makes it easier for patients to ask their health care provider questions."

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Women’s Health Materials Offer Evidence-Based Treatment Comparisons

Women who face various health conditions need reliable information to talk to their health care providers about which treatment options are best for them. AHRQ’s Effective Health Care (EHC) Program offers a library of easy-to-read, evidence-based resources on women’s health to help women explore and compare their options, prepare to make the most of their medical visits, and make informed decisions about their health.

  • Two recent AHRQ research reviews compare the accuracy of diagnostic tests and effectiveness of treatments for coronary artery disease, the most common form of heart disease in women. Heart disease is the most common cause of death among women in the United States.
  • Pregnant women wanting to ensure a healthy pregnancy and delivery can benefit from AHRQ’s easy-to-read summaries on three topics: comparing treatments for gestational diabetes, the pros and cons of elective labor induction, and the use of progestogens to prevent pre-term birth.
  • Women struggling daily with urinary incontinence or chronic pelvic pain can use AHRQ’s patient resources to compare the effectiveness of drug, non-drug, or surgical treatments and get questions to discuss with their health care providers.
  • For the 1 in 5 women over age 50 who develop severe low bone density, or osteoporosis, AHRQ offers evidence-based comparisons of the pros and cons of different treatments to strengthen bones and reduce the risk of fracture.

These and many other free materials for women to compare treatment options for conditions affecting them—including diabetes, breast cancer, high blood pressure, and osteoarthritis— available from AHRQ’s Effective Health Care Program. Call 1-800-358-9295 and use reference code C-05 to order print copies. Additional resources on more than 800 women’s health topics are available from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Women’s Health—a member of the AHRQ Effective Health Care Program national partnership network.

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More New, Free Effective Health Care Program Resources

New Evidence-Based Treatment Comparisons for Patients and Clinicians
Treatment comparison summaries help patients and clinicians learn about treatment options and compare their effectiveness, benefits, and risks. (To order free print copies, call 1-800-358-9295 and use reference code C-05.) 

Orthopedic Surgery: Prevention of Venous Thromboembolism

Cover image of consumer summary Preventing Blood Clots After Hip or Knee Replacement Surgery or Surgery for a Broken Hip.New publications summarize scientific evidence that shows extending medication therapy to prevent blood clots after orthopedic surgery from the standard 7-10 days to 28 days or more can be beneficial to the patients. A patient treatment comparison summary discusses the treatments available to prevent blood clots after surgery, factors patients should consider before choosing a treatment option, and questions to discuss with their health care providers. Resources include—

 Antipsychotic Medications: Children and Young Adults

Cover image of consumer summary Antipsychotic Medicines for Children and Teens.Summary materials for patients, parents, and clinicians outline key findings and clinical implications from a recent research review looking at the effectiveness of antipsychotics in adolescents. The materials present the evidence on the effectiveness of first-generation and second-generation antipsychotics medication in adolescents. Resources include—

 Diabetes: Insulin Delivery and Glucose Monitoring

Cover image of consumer summary Methods for Delivering Insulin and Monitoring Blood Sugar.New publications summarize the effectiveness of current insulin delivery and glucose monitoring options for diabetes management. These materials for patients and clinicians compare the effectiveness of insulin delivery methods and glucose monitoring systems on reaching glycemic control and clinical outcomes. Resources include—

 Respiratory Failure: Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation

Image of clinician summary Noninvasive Positive-Pressure Ventilation for Acute Respiratory Failure: Comparative Effectiveness.A set of clinician summary materials compare available scientific evidence on the effectiveness of noninvasive ventilation for patients with COPD or congestive heart failure. Evidence suggests NPPV improves rates of mortality, endotracheal intubation and hospital-acquired pneumonia when compared with supportive medical therapy alone. Resources include—

 Pregnancy: Progestogens for Prevention of Preterm Birth

Cover image of consumer summary Progestogens to Prevent Preterm Birth.A recent research review found that progestogens reduce the risk of preterm birth for women with prior spontaneous preterm births and women who are pregnant with one baby. Women with a short cervix may also benefit, but the evidence is limited. For women with multiple gestations, there is no benefit. These findings and other information about the risks and benefits of the treatment are summarized in new publications for clinicians and patients. Resources include— 

 New Research Reviews Comparing Treatment Options

Each of these reviews compares available evidence from numerous research studies. Companion summary resources for patients and clinicians will be available for each of these reviews in the future.

Asthma: Breathing Exercises

A new review finds that complementary breathing retraining methods such as hyperventilation (over-breathing) reduction breathing, when compared to other breathing techniques, may reduce asthma symptoms and may decrease use of quick relief medications. Only minor harms were reported in studies. Patients considering intensive asthma-focused training should not change their use of asthma medication without consulting with their medical provider. Read the full research review here: Comparative Effectiveness of Breathing Exercises and/or Retraining Techniques in the Treatment of Asthma.

Other New Research

Key Heart Treatment Practices Associated with Improved Survival in the Elderly

Two new research articles from AHRQ’s DEcIDE Network examine outcomes for elderly patients after aortic valve replacement (AVR). They study long-term survival following surgical AVR and the effectiveness of certain anticoagulants after bioprosthetic AVR in elderly patients. Long-Term Survival following Aortic Valve Replacement among High-risk Elderly Patients in the US: Insights from the STS Adult Cardiac Surgery Database, 1991-2007 is published in Circulation and Early Anticoagulation of Bioprosthetic Aortic Valves in Older Patients: Results from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons Adult Cardiac Surgery National Database is published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Page last reviewed September 2012
Internet Citation: EHC Program Inside Track Newsletter. Content last reviewed September 2012. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.