Back Pain? Hold the MRI, New Research Says

Issue 465
AHRQ's Electronic Newsletter summarizes Agency research and programmatic activities.
April 7, 2015

AHRQ Stats: Guidance for Elderly Cancer Survivors

Among elderly cancer survivors in 2011 who were covered by Medicare only, less than one-fourth reported that their doctor had discussed in detail their need to make lifestyle changes after treatment. (Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Statistical Brief #451: Experiences with Health Care Providers among Cancer Survivors, U.S. Civilian Noninstitutionalized Population, 2011.)

Today's Headlines

  1. Back Pain? Hold the MRI, New Research Says.
  2. AHRQ Releases Resources To Improve the Integration of Behavior Health and Primary Care.
  3. National Quality Strategy Priorities in Action Features Colorado Organization's Work To Provide Health Care to Homeless.
  4. CE/CME for TeamSTEPPS Training Available Online: Group-Paced Cohort Option.
  5. AHRQ in the Professional Literature.

1. Back Pain? Hold the MRI, New Research Says

Older adults who had spine imaging within six weeks of an initial primary care visit for back pain did not have better outcomes one year later when compared with those who did not have early imaging, according to a recent AHRQ-funded study. Patients who had early imaging had substantially higher health care use and costs than those who did not undergo early imaging, the study said. Researchers examined data from 5,239 patients age 65 years and older who went to primary- or urgent-care facilities at three U.S. health care systems for back pain over a two-year period. The study and abstract, "Association of Early Imaging for Back Pain with Clinical Outcomes in Older Adults," was published in the March 17 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

2. AHRQ Releases Resources To Improve the Integration of Behavior Health and Primary Care

Two new resources to help reduce fragmentation of care through integration are available on the AHRQ Academy for Integrating Behavioral Health and Primary Care portal. "A Guidebook of Professional Practices for Behavioral Health and Primary Care Integration" (PDF File, 1.3 MB) identifies key professional practices among exemplary integrated primary care organizations developed to help practices integrate behavioral health care more effectively. Organizations can use this guidebook to work toward a level of integrated care seen in some of the best primary care organizations in the country. The "Provider- and Practice-Level Competencies for Integrated Behavioral Health in Primary Care: A Literature Review" (PDF File, 624 KB) is a comprehensive set of competencies that practices, providers and staff can use to advance integration efforts.

3. National Quality Strategy Priorities in Action Features Colorado Organization's Work To Provide Health Care to Homeless

The latest edition of the National Quality Strategy's Priorities in Action features the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. The coalition has been working to integrate health care and housing services for people who are homeless, based on the principle that safe housing is required to effectively manage the related mental illnesses, substance-abuse disorders and multiple chronic medical conditions of individuals who are homeless. As a result of its work, the health status of people served by the coalition improved and $31,545 on average per participant was saved over two years. The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless promotes the National Quality Strategy priorities of person- and family-centered care, effective communication and care coordination and makes quality care more affordable by using the National Quality Strategy lever of Innovation and Diffusion.

4. CE/CME for TeamSTEPPS Training Available Online: Group-Paced Cohort Option

TeamSTEPPS® is an evidence-based approach to improve communication and teamwork among health care teams. TeamSTEPPS Master Trainers serve within their institutions to help prepare for, implement and champion the TeamSTEPPS teamwork approach. Those interested in learning more about TeamSTEPPS are encouraged to register for TeamSTEPPS online learning. Participants in the group-paced cohort have four months to complete 11 modules, watch three webinars and conduct a virtual "teach-back" session. Upon completion of all course activities, participants are certified as TeamSTEPPS Master Trainers. AHRQ's subject matter experts are available throughout the course to assist participants with questions and challenges regarding implementation of teamwork initiatives in health care. Options are also available to take the entire TeamSTEPPS Master Training curriculum at a self-paced rate or to take individual parts of the TeamSTEPPS curriculum without becoming a Master Trainer. Register and enroll.

5. AHRQ in the Professional Literature

Epstein AJ, Yang L, Yang F, et al. A comparison of clinical outcomes from carotid artery stenting among US hospitals. Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes 2014 Jul;7(4):574-80. Epub 2014 Jun 3. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Curtis JR, Chen L, Bharat A, et al. Linkage of a de-identified United States rheumatoid arthritis registry with administrative data to facilitate comparative effectiveness research. Arthritis Care Res 2014 Dec;66(12):1790-8. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Turner LW, Nartey D, Stafford RS, et al. Ambulatory treatment of type 2 diabetes in the U.S., 1997-2012. Diabetes Care 2014 Apr;37(4):985-92. Epub 2013 Nov 6. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Boulware LE, Tangri N, Ephraim PL, et al. Comparative effectiveness studies to improve clinical outcomes in end stage renal disease: the DEcIDE Patient Outcomes in End Stage Renal Disease Study. BMC Nephrol 2012 Dec 6;13:167. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Schiltz NK, Koroukian SM, Singer ME, et al. Disparities in access to specialized epilepsy care. Epilepsy Res 2013 Nov;107(1-2):172-80. Epub 2013 Aug 16. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Przedworski JM, McAlpine DD, Karaca-Mandic P, et al. Health and health risks among sexual minority women: an examination of 3 subgroups. Am J Public Health 2014 Jun;104(6):1045-7. Epub 2014 Apr 17.Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Salhi RA, Edwards JM, Gaieski DF, et al. Access to care for patients with time-sensitive conditions in Pennsylvania. Ann Emerg Med 2014 May;63(5):572-9. Epub 2013 Dec 22. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Miller M, Swanson SA, Azrael D, et al. Antidepressant dose, age, and the risk of deliberate self-harm. JAMA Intern Med 2014 Jun;174(6):899-909. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

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Page last reviewed April 2015
Page originally created April 2015
Internet Citation: Back Pain? Hold the MRI, New Research Says. Content last reviewed April 2015. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/e-newsletter/464.html