New AHRQ Study Examines Health IT Tool Intended To Improve Medication Monitoring

Issue 467
AHRQ's Electronic Newsletter summarizes Agency research and programmatic activities.
April 21, 2015

AHRQ Stats: Retiree Health Coverage

Among private companies, 10.5 percent offered health insurance to retirees (age 65 and older) in 2013, down from 13.3 percent in 2003. About 3.8 million retirees were enrolled in employer-sponsored health insurance in 2013, down from 5.6 million in 2003. (Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Statistical Brief #453: Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance for Retirees in the Private Sector, 2003 to 2013.)

Today's Headlines

  1. New AHRQ Study Examines Health IT Tool Intended To Improve Medication Monitoring.
  2. Study Shows Significant Cost Savings in Preventing HIV Infection.
  3. Deliberation Approaches Effective in Obtaining Informed Public Views on Complex Health Topics.
  4. Register Now: May 20 Webinar To Explore Hospital-Based Intervention Programs for Medication Reconciliation.
  5. Call for Abstracts: May 18 Deadline for Electronic Data Conference in September.
  6. AHRQ's Health Care Innovations Exchange Focuses on Innovative Approaches to Improving Birth Outcomes.
  7. AHRQ in the Professional Literature.

1. New AHRQ Study Examines Health IT Tool Intended To Improve Medication Monitoring

An electronic tool to support laboratory monitoring between primary care office visits improved low-density lipoprotein (LDL) testing intervals for patients, but didn't improve hemoglobin A1c or LDL control, according to an AHRQ-funded study. In a randomized controlled trial, researchers examined the clinical impact of a health information technology (IT) tool designed to improve between-visit ordering and tracking of laboratory testing for more than 3,500 primary care patients who were prescribed oral medications for hyperlipidemia, diabetes and/or hypertension over a 12-month period. The study and abstract, "Randomized Trial of a Health IT Tool to Support Between-Visit Based Laboratory Monitoring for Chronic Disease Medication Prescriptions," appeared online January 6 in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. The study's authors noted that, with the increasing prevalence of chronic conditions such as high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and hypertension, innovations designed to improve medication management have the potential to significantly improve the nation's health. However, they said, new payment models and workflow practices that integrate nonvisit clinical work might be needed before medication management systems used outside of office visits can be more widely adopted.

2. Study Shows Significant Cost Savings in Preventing HIV Infection

Preventing HIV infection in one 35-year-old high-risk person saves $229,800 in medical costs over a lifetime, according to an AHRQ-funded study. Researchers, including AHRQ's John A. Fleishman, Ph.D., estimated lifetime medical costs for people with and without HIV to determine the cost saved by preventing one HIV infection. The article and abstract "The Lifetime Medical Cost Savings from Preventing HIV in the United States," appeared online February 24 in the journal Medical Care. Although people who acquire HIV infection can be successfully treated and continue to live a near-normal life, this study demonstrates the significant value of preventing HIV infection, from both cost and quality-of-life perspectives.

3. Deliberation Approaches Effective in Obtaining Informed Public Views on Complex Health Topics

Public deliberation and engagement in health care program and policy decisions is an effective method for researchers to capture informed consumer views on complex issues, according to an AHRQ study. The strategy is also a useful way for policymakers to engage citizens, according to the article and abstract, "Effectiveness of Public Deliberation Methods for Gathering Input on Issues in Healthcare: Results From a Randomized Trial," published March 14 in the journal Social Science & Medicine. The randomized controlled trial compared deliberative methods with one another and with a control intervention. Seventy-six public deliberation groups were convened in Chicago; Sacramento, California; Silver Spring, Maryland; and Durham, North Carolina, representing a diverse racial, ethnic and socio-demographic sample. The aim of this deliberative methods demonstration (PDF File, 255.7 KB) was to inform research programs on public views regarding the use of research evidence in health care decision-making and to expand the evidence base on public deliberation.

4. Register Now: May 20 Webinar To Explore Hospital-Based Intervention Programs for Medication Reconciliation

AHRQ will host a continuing education webinar May 20 to explore how hospital-based medication reconciliation interventions can reduce errors during transitions in care. Evidence shows that pharmacist-led processes could prevent medication errors and potential adverse drug events. Findings from an AHRQ report that explored this topic further and information from AHRQ's Medications at Transitions and Clinical Handoffs (MATCH) toolkit, a step-by-step guide for improving the medication reconciliation process, will be reviewed during the webinar. Additional resources related to this topic include the full research report and executive summary of Making Health Care Safer II (Medication Reconciliation Supported by Clinical Pharmacists is chapter 25). Continuing education credit is available. Registration is open.

5. AHRQ's Call for Abstracts: May 18 Deadline for Electronic Data Conference in September

There is a May 18 deadline for submitting abstracts that address the development and use of evidence to transform health systems for the Concordium 2015 Conference, which is scheduled for September 21-22 in Washington, D.C. This meeting, which builds on the Electronic Data Methods Forum symposia, brings together individuals and organizations working with big health data (large datasets with rapidly changing and diverse data that may be analyzed with computers to reveal patterns, trends and associations) to integrate evidence, practice and policy in the delivery systems.

6. AHRQ's Health Care Innovations Exchange Focuses on Innovative Approaches to Improving Birth Outcomes

The latest issue of AHRQ's Health Care Innovations Exchange features three programs that used innovative approaches to improve outcomes for newborns and pregnant women. One profile describes a policy to deny insurance payment for hospital and physician charges associated with early births (prior to 39 weeks gestational age) involving elective inductions or nonmedically indicated deliveries. This policy, implemented jointly by the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, followed a voluntary effort by providers that led to declines in early, elective inductions and deliveries. The nonpayment policy, which was officially launched on January 1, 2013, was implemented in stages, beginning in July 2012. During the first three months after ramp-up began (July 2012 through September 2012), admissions of newborns to neonatal intensive care units and total birth-related costs came in below projections based on claims data, suggesting the policy has generated further improvements in health outcomes and cost reductions.

7. AHRQ in the Professional Literature

Starmer AJ, O'Toole JK, Rosenbluth G, et al. Development, implementation, and dissemination of the I-PASS handoff curriculum: a multisite educational intervention to improve patient handoffs. Acad Med 2014 Jun;89(6):876-84. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Herrick DB, Nakhasi A, Nelson B, et al. Usability characteristics of self-administered computer-assisted interviewing in the emergency department: factors affecting ease of use, efficiency, and entry error. Appl Clin Inform 2013 Jun 19;4(2):276-92. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Meeks DW, Smith MW, Taylor L, et al. An analysis of electronic health record-related patient safety concerns. J Am Med Inform Assoc 2014 Nov-Dec;21(6):1053-9. Epub 2014 Jun 20. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Hockenberry JM, Mutter R, Barrett M. Factors associated with prolonged observation services stays and the impact of long stays on patient cost. Health Serv Res 2014 Jun;49(3):893-909. Epub 2013 Dec 18. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Curtis JR, Xie F, Chen R, et al. Identifying newly approved medications in Medicare claims data: a case study using tocilizumab. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf 2013 Nov;22(11):1214-21. Epub 2013 Sep 9. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Davidoff AJ, Gardner LD, Zuckerman IH. Validation of disability status, a claims-based measure of functional status for cancer treatment and outcomes studies. Med Care 2014 Jun;52(6):500-10. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Ekwueme DU, Yabroff KR, Guy GP Jr, et al. Medical costs and productivity losses of cancer survivors—United States, 2008-2011. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2014 Jun 13;63(23):505-10. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Dorflinger L, Auerbach SM, Siminoff LA. Predictors of consent in tissue donation: interpersonal aspects and information provision during requests by phone. Patient Educ Couns 2013 May;91(2):161-6. Epub 2012 Dec 28. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

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Page last reviewed April 2015
Page originally created April 2015
Internet Citation: New AHRQ Study Examines Health IT Tool Intended To Improve Medication Monitoring. Content last reviewed April 2015. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/e-newsletter/467.html