AHRQ Study Examines Impact of Retail Clinics on Emergency Department Visits

Issue #543
AHRQ News Now is a weekly newsletter that highlights agency research and program activities.
November 22, 2016

AHRQ Stats: Safety-Net Hospitals

One quarter of safety-net hospitals accounted for 33 percent of all inpatient stays, 50 percent of stays covered by Medicaid, 45 percent of uninsured stays and 43 percent of all mental health-related stays in 2014. (Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Statistical Brief #213: Characteristics of Safety-Net Hospitals, 2014 .)

Today's Headlines:

AHRQ Study Examines Impact of Retail Clinics on Emergency Department Visits

Retail clinics, or medical care outlets located in drug or grocery stores, generally do not reduce visits to nearby emergency departments (ED) for low-acuity conditions such as hay fever, bronchitis, flu and viral infections, according to a new AHRQ study. However, a slight decrease in ED visits for these ailments was shown for patients with private insurance, which the authors said may be attributed to retail clinics being located in higher income, suburban areas. The study compared treatment visits to retail clinics and EDs within a 10-minute driving distance. The analysis was based on ED visits between 2007 and 2012, when the number of retail clinics nationwide grew from about 130 to 1,400. Authors conducted the analysis with data from AHRQ's Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, the nation's most comprehensive source of hospital data, including information on inpatient care, ambulatory care and ED visits. The new study, "Association Between the Opening of Retail Clinics and Low-Acuity Emergency Department Visits," is the first to directly examine whether retail clinics were associated with reduced ED visits for the ambulatory conditions. Access the abstract of the study, published Nov. 14 in Annals of Emergency Medicine.

Depression and Treatments Don't Always Match, Study Says

A recent AHRQ-funded analysis revealed that most adults who were screened positive for depression do not receive treatment, while most patients receiving treatment for depression have not screened positive for the disease. The study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, analyzed 2012 and 2013 data from AHRQ's Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. It found that approximately 8.4 percent of adults screened positive for depression, of whom 28.7 percent received treatment. Conversely, among all adults treated for depression, 29.9 percent had depression and 21.8 percent had serious psychological distress. The authors called for stronger efforts to align depression care with each patient's clinical needs. Access the abstract.

AHRQ Study Estimates Higher Costs of Hospital Stays for Patients With Multiple Chronic Conditions

Patients with multiple chronic conditions had hospital costs that were more than 19 percent higher than costs for patients with one or no chronic conditions, according to an AHRQ study. Researchers determined higher costs were driven by longer hospital stays rather than by higher costs per day. Authors used AHRQ's 2012 Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project's State Inpatient Databases to analyze more than 1.4 million hospital discharge records. Hospital costs for ambulatory care conditions were 19 percent higher for patients with two or three chronic conditions, 32 percent higher for those with four or five chronic conditions and 31 percent higher for those with six or more chronic conditions. The findings suggest that some of the benefit anticipated in reduced preventable hospitalizations may be offset by cost increases driven by a rise in multiple chronic conditions. The article, "The Effects of Multiple Chronic Conditions on Hospitalization Costs and Utilization for Ambulatory Care Sensitive Conditions in the United States: A Nationally Representative Cross-Sectional Study," appeared in BMC Health Services Research. Access the abstract.

Register Now for 2017 TeamSTEPPS® Master Trainer Courses

Register now to attend an in-person AHRQ TeamSTEPPS® Master Trainer Course in early 2017. TeamSTEPPS is AHRQ's evidence-based communication and teamwork training curriculum. The two-day courses use a train-the-trainer approach and are designed to educate participants on the fundamentals of TeamSTEPPS content, provide resources for training others and ensure that participants gain the knowledge required to implement and coach behaviors needed to achieve positive results. These courses are available at no cost at regional training centers across the United States, but participants must cover the cost of their travel. Registration is offered on a first come, first served basis.

AHRQ Offers Tips on Applying for Research Grants

Researchers interested in supporting the agency's mission to improve the safety and quality of the nation's health care can access the online AHRQ Tips for Grant Applicants. This resource explains the funding process and offers guidance on where and how to find grant announcements, tips for writing grant applications and information about grant review criteria. You can also access examples of AHRQ-funded projects and grantee profiles showcasing AHRQ's research.

New Research and Evidence From AHRQ

AHRQ in the Professional Literature

Usability and feasibility of an mHealth intervention for monitoring and managing pain symptoms in sickle cell disease: the Sickle Cell Disease Mobile Application to Record Symptoms via Technology (SMART). Jonassaint CR, Shah N, Jonassaint J. Hemoglobin 2015;39(3):162-8. Epub 2015 Apr 1. Access the abstract in PubMed®.

Effect of chlorhexidine bathing and other infection control practices on the Benefits of Universal Glove and Gown (BUGG) trial: a subgroup analysis. Morgan DJ, Pineles L, Shardell M, et al. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2015 Jun;36(6):734-7. Epub 2015 Feb 24. Access the abstract  in PubMed®.

Type of insurance and use of preventive health services among older adults in Mexico. Rivera-Hernandez M, Galarraga O. J Aging Health 2015 Sep;27(6):962-82. Epub 2015 Mar 24. Access the abstract in PubMed®.

Impact of simulation and team training on postpartum hemorrhage management in non-academic centers. Marshall NE, Vanderhoeven J, Eden KB, et al. J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med 2015 Mar;28(5):495-9. Epub 2014 May 29. Access the abstract in PubMed®.

Conceptualizing smartphone use in outpatient wound assessment: patients' and caregivers' willingness to use technology. Wiseman JT, Fernandes-Taylor S, Barnes ML, et al. J Surg Res 2015 Sep;198(1):245-51. Epub 2015 May 14. Access the abstract  in PubMed®.

Clinical impact of treatment timing for chronic hepatitis C infection: a decision model. Pho MT, Jensen DM, Meltzer DO, et al. J Viral Hepat 2015 Aug;22(8):630-8. Access the abstract  in PubMed®.

Promising practices for achieving patient-centered hospital care: a national study of high-performing US hospitals. Aboumatar HJ, Chang BH, Al Danaf J, et al. Med Care 2015 Sep;53(9):758-67. Access the abstract  in PubMed®.

Prevalence, geographic variation, and trends in hospital services relevant to the care of older adults: development of the senior care services scale and examination of measurement properties. Arbaje AI, Yu Q, Newhall KA, et al. Med Care 2015 Sep;53(9):768-75. Access the abstract  in PubMed®.

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Page last reviewed November 2016
Page originally created November 2016
Internet Citation: AHRQ Study Examines Impact of Retail Clinics on Emergency Department Visits. Content last reviewed November 2016. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/e-newsletter/543.html