HHS Acting Deputy Secretary Mary Wakefield Added as Keynote Speaker to AHRQ's Research Conference

Issue 488
AHRQ's Electronic Newsletter summarizes Agency research and programmatic activities.
September 29, 2015

AHRQ Stats: Hospital Discharge Instructions

The percentage of hospitalized adult patients with heart failure who were given complete written discharge instructions improved from 57 percent in 2005 to almost 94 percent in 2012. (Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2014 National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report Chartbook on Care Coordination.)

Today's Headlines

  1. HHS Acting Deputy Secretary Mary Wakefield Added as Keynote Speaker to AHRQ's Research Conference.
  2. AHRQ Study: Electronic Prescribing Linked to Fewer Adverse Drug Events Among Patients With Diabetes.
  3. AHRQ Issues New Report on Behavioral Programs for Diabetes.
  4. AHRQ, NIH Release Book on Population Health.
  5. Online Interactive System Helps Lower Women's Health Risks Before Pregnancy, AHRQ-Funded Study Finds.
  6. AHRQ Grantees Describe How To Enhance Data Collection for Discharge Databases.
  7. Featured Case Study: Wisconsin Hospitals Embrace AHRQ Strategies To Protect Patient Safety.
  8. AHRQ in the Professional Literature.

1. HHS Acting Deputy Secretary Mary Wakefield Added as Keynote Speaker to AHRQ's Research Conference

Mary Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N., HHS acting deputy secretary, will deliver keynote remarks at the October 5 opening plenary session of AHRQ’s 2015 Research Conference in Arlington, Virginia. Dr. Wakefield will address the importance of health services research and AHRQ’s lead role on these efforts. Find out more on this and other sessions by viewing the latest conference agenda. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn about the results and impact of AHRQ-sponsored research, data and tools that have helped to improve care in a changing health care environment. Join hosts AHRQ and AcademyHealth as they partner with the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) for joint sessions on October 6 to address key issues in dissemination and implementation of patient-centered outcomes research, launching PCORI's first annual meeting, October 6-8, at the same location.  Register by October 3 and save.

2. AHRQ Study: Electronic Prescribing Linked to Fewer Adverse Drug Events Among Patients With Diabetes

Physicians who primarily issue prescriptions electronically have lower rates of adverse drug events (ADEs) among their patients with diabetes, according to an AHRQ study in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. The study used 2011 Medicare Part D drug claims data, representing nearly 28 million Medicare beneficiaries, to investigate ADE rates of physicians who used e-prescribing for 50 percent or more of prescriptions (and therefore met the CMS meaningful use stage 2 threshold for e-prescribing). Those physicians were compared with physicians who prescribed primarily in writing, by telephone or in other ways. Of nearly 130,000 physicians included in the study, 25 percent were considered high e-prescribers because they met the meaningful use threshold in 2011. Five percent of high e-prescribers had at least one patient with an ADE, compared with 6.5 percent of low e-prescribers. High e-prescribing was associated with a reduced risk of hospital or emergency department visits for hypoglycemia or ADEs related to anti-diabetes medications. The study, "Meaningful Use Stage 2 E-Prescribing Threshold and Adverse Drug Events in the Medicare Part D Population With Diabetes," and abstract were published May 6. Co-authors included AHRQ’s William Encinosa, Ph.D.

3. AHRQ Issues New Report on Behavioral Programs for Diabetes

A new report from AHRQ examined how effective behavioral programs can be in helping type 1 and type 2 diabetes patients control glucose levels. For those with type 1 diabetes, behavioral programs improve glycemic control when follow-up with patients from health care providers lasts up to six months. Type 2 diabetes patients received limited benefit in controlling glucose levels from diabetes self-management education programs that provided 10 hours or less of interaction with a health care provider. Both diabetes self-management education and lifestyle programs—such as structured weight loss and physical activity interventions—can have benefits in terms of glycemic control. However, lifestyle programs appear better for reducing body mass index than programs that focus only on diabetes self-management. Select to access the full report. The studies on behavioral interventions for type 1 and type 2 diabetes were published online in the September 29 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.

4. AHRQ, NIH Release Book on Population Health

A new book, titled Population Health: Behavioral and Social Science Insights and produced jointly by AHRQ and NIH’s Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, is a collection of papers that highlight the varied contributions of the behavioral and social sciences to population health. While much health research seeks to improve the health of an individual, there is much to be learned by understanding the context in which individual and community health problems develop. This understanding may lead to interventions developed from collaborations from the behavioral and social sciences that improve health and well-being both to individuals and to populations with common systemic risk factors. Each chapter in the newly released book considers an area of investigation and ends with suggestions for future research and implications of current research for policy and practice. In the foreword, AHRQ Director Richard Kronick, Ph.D., states that health care by itself is limited in its capacity to remedy all the challenges of poor health outcomes. Both agencies hope this book stimulates rigorous and relevant research that will improve the health of the nation.

5. Online Interactive System Helps Lower Women's Health Risks Before Pregnancy, AHRQ-Funded Study Finds

African-American women who interacted with an online "conversational agent" to discuss health risks before becoming pregnant had significantly lower risks than women who didn’t use the system, according to results of a new AHRQ-funded study. The "Gabby System" was developed to help young (ages 18-34), college-attending African American women identify and learn about preconception health risks and get information about behavior change. Women who interacted with Gabby over a six-month period through biweekly emails with links to information had a higher proportion (28 percent vs. 21 percent) and a greater average number (8.3 vs. 5.5) of risks that were resolved compared with women who did not interact with Gabby. Interactions included a greeting from Gabby, a review of identified health risks, a discussion of risks selected by women and a review and update of their health to-do list. The most common content area requested by participants was nutrition and activity, followed by infectious disease, environmental issues and immunization and vaccines. The Gabby system holds promise for improving access to the primary and preventive care assessments that women need to prepare for pregnancy, study authors concluded. "Reducing Preconception Risks Among African American Women With Conversational Agent Technology" and abstract were published in the July/August issue of the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.

6. AHRQ Grantees Describe How To Enhance Data Collection for Discharge Databases

A special issue of Health Services Research describes the challenges and lessons learned among AHRQ grantees seeking to enhance the clinical content and ethnic/racial data collection for statewide hospital discharge databases. Five states (Florida, Hawaii, Minnesota, New Jersey and New York) received grants to expand the clinical content of their databases while two states and one region (California, New Mexico and the Northwest region) used funding to improve racial/ethnicity data collection. AHRQ developed two toolkits—Clinical Content Enhancement Toolkit and Race and Ethnicity Data Improvement Toolkit—that reflect the grantees’ experiences in improving data collection. The toolkits are designed to assist state data organizations that collect hospital administrative data, such as those participating in AHRQ’s Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project. An overview of the grant projects is available here.  "Enhancing Statewide Hospital Discharge Databases: Improving Race, Ethnicity and Clinical Data" was published August 1.

7. Featured Case Study: Wisconsin Hospitals Embrace AHRQ Strategies To Protect Patient Safety

Fourteen hospitals operated by Aurora Health Care in eastern Wisconsin reduced central line-associated bloodstream infections in intensive care units by 65 percent after adopting patient safety strategies from AHRQ’s Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program.

8. AHRQ in the Professional Literature

Torio CM, Encinosa W, Berdahl T, et al. Annual report on health care for children and youth in the United States: national estimates of cost, utilization and expenditures for children with mental health conditions. Acad Pediatr 2015 Jan-Feb;15(1):19-35. Epub 2014 Nov 13. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Bilchick KC, Stukenborg GJ. Comparative effectiveness of cardiac resynchronization therapy in combination with implantable defibrillator in patients with heart failure and wide QRS duration. Am J Cardiol 2014 Nov 15;114(10):1537-42. Epub 2014 Aug 27. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Goldman LE, Sarkar U, Kessell E, et al. Support from hospital to home for elders: a randomized trial. Ann Intern Med 2014 Oct 7;161(7):472-81. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Chung S, Lesser LI, Lauderdale DS, et al. Medicare annual preventive care visits: use increased among fee-for-service patients, but many do not participate. Health Aff 2015 Jan;34(1):11-20. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Dor A, Encinosa WE, Carey K. Medicare's Hospital Compare quality reports appear to have slowed price increases for two major procedures. Health Aff 2015 Jan;34(1):71-7. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Sockolow PS, Bowles KH, Adelsberger MC, et al. Challenges and facilitators to adoption of a point-of-care electronic health record in home care. Home Health Care Serv Q 2014;33(1):14-35. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Holcomb CN, Graham LA, Richman JS, et al. The incremental risk of noncardiac surgery on adverse cardiac events following coronary stenting. J Am Coll Cardiol 2014 Dec 30;64(25):2730-9. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Cottrell EK, O'Brien K, Curry M, et al. Understanding safety in prehospital emergency medical services for children. Prehosp Emerg Care 2014 Jul-Sep;18(3):350-8 Epub 2014 Mar 26. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

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Page last reviewed September 2015
Page originally created September 2015
Internet Citation: HHS Acting Deputy Secretary Mary Wakefield Added as Keynote Speaker to AHRQ's Research Conference. Content last reviewed September 2015. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/e-newsletter/488.html