Updated Toolkit Advises Medical Practices on Improving Diagnostic Testing

Issue 599
AHRQ News Now is a weekly newsletter that highlights agency research and program activities.
January 24, 2018

AHRQ Stats: 'Baby Boomer' Hospital Stays Involving Hepatitis C

Hospital stays involving hepatitis C increased the most—67 percent—among "Baby Boomers" (ages 52–72) between 2005 and 2014. During the same period, hospital stays involving hepatitis C decreased 15 percent among patients ages 18 to 51. (Source: AHRQ, Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Statistical Brief #232: Characteristics of Inpatient Stays Involving Hepatitis C,2005-2014.) 

Today's Headlines:

Updated Toolkit Advises Medical Practices on Improving Diagnostic Testing

A revised AHRQ toolkit, "Improving Your Laboratory Testing Process," is a step-by-step guide on how to improve the safety and accuracy of the diagnostic testing process in primary care settings. The guide, an update of a 2013 AHRQ toolkit, can help primary care teams assess how laboratory tests are managed and how the process flows from ordering to follow-up. Approximately 40 percent of medical office visits involve diagnostic testing, with more than 2 billion lab tests performed annually in the United States, predominantly in ambulatory care settings. The majority of errors that occur in lab testing are related to communication breakdowns. Access the toolkit.

Medicaid Expansion May Have Led to More Medicaid Patients Seeking Care at Non–Safety-Net Hospitals

Following implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Medicaid-funded hospital stays rose overall, but the trend was more pronounced for hospitals not designated as "safety net" hospitals, a new AHRQ study indicates. The results suggest that newly enrolled Medicaid patients, when given the option, may be choosing non–safety-net hospitals rather than safety-net hospitals for their care, researchers said. The study, published in Health Services Research, found that Medicaid-funded hospital stays increased about 14 percent more in non–safety-net hospitals than their safety-net counterparts between 2013 and 2014, when Medicaid was expanded under the ACA. Safety-net hospitals are those that care for a larger-than-usual proportion of patients who are low income, uninsured or underinsured. These hospitals typically receive additional reimbursements through federal, state, and local funding mechanisms. The study was based on data from AHRQ’s Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project. Access the abstract.

Highlights From AHRQ’s Patient Safety Network

AHRQ’s Patient Safety Network (PSNet) highlights journal articles, books and tools related to patient safety. Articles featured this week include:

Review additional new publications in PSNet’s current issue or access recent cases and commentaries in AHRQ’s WebM&M (Morbidity and Mortality Rounds on the Web).

New AHRQ Views Blog Post: From Hype to Reality: How Artificial Intelligence Can Transform Health and Health Care

An AHRQ Views blog post developed by AHRQ in conjunction with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation explains why the time may be ripe for artificial intelligence (AI) in health. The post reflects on a new report by JASON, an independent group of scientists and academics advising the federal government on matters of science and technology for more than 50 years. The report lists findings about the current state of AI in health and health care, and offers recommendations that could accelerate the use of AI in and out of the clinical setting. 

Toolkit Provides Resources for Implementing Clinical Decision Support Alerts for Community-Acquired Pneumonia

AHRQ’s new Community-Acquired Pneumonia Clinical Decision Support Implementation Toolkit helps clinicians in emergency departments, primary care and other ambulatory settings implement and adopt a clinical decision support (CDS) alert for identifying and managing patients with community-acquired pneumonia. Community-acquired pneumonia is the eighth leading cause of death in the United States. AHRQ’s toolkit provides a template for integrating a real-time CDS tool into existing electronic health record systems. The tool is adapted from the CURB-65 scoring system, which predicts deaths from community-acquired pneumonia. Training materials to help practices integrate the new tool into their existing diagnostic workflows are also included. Access the toolkit.

Research on the Nation’s Health Systems

AHRQ’s Comparative Health System Performance Initiative funds studies about how health care delivery systems promote evidence-based practices and patient-centered outcomes research in delivering care. Publications include:

Access the initiative’s Compendium of U.S. Health Systems, 2016, the first publicly available database that provides researchers, policymakers and health care administrators with a snapshot of the nation’s health systems.

Featured Case Study: Medication Therapy Tools Help Pharmacists Educate Patients, Improve Adherence and Safety

AHRQ’s Health Literacy Tools for Providers of Medication Therapy Management make it easier for pharmacists to help patients understand and correctly manage their medications. These tools have boosted patient safety for more than 50 million patients receiving pharmacy services annually from SinfoníaRx. Access the impact case study.

AHRQ in the Professional Literature

Incidence, risks, and types of infections in pediatric long-term care facilities. Saiman L, Maykowski P, Murray M, et al. JAMA Pediatr 2017 Sep 1;171(9):872-8. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Advance care planning in skilled nursing facilities: a multisite examination of professional judgments. Baughman KR, Ludwick R, Jarjoura D, et al. Gerontologist 2017 Aug 22. [Epub ahead of print.] Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Omega-3 fatty acids and cardiovascular disease: summary of the 2016 Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality evidence review. Balk EM, Lichtenstein AH. Nutrients 2017 Aug 11;9(8). Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Improving the safety of health information technology requires shared responsibility: it is time we all step up. Sittig DF, Belmont E, Singh H. Healthc (Amst) 2017 Jul 14. [Epub ahead of print.] Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Electronic health record alert-related workload as a predictor of burnout in primary care providers. Gregory ME, Russo E, Singh H. Appl Clin Inform 2017 Jul 5;8(3):686-97. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Assessment of automating safety surveillance from electronic health records: analysis for the quality and safety review system. Fong A, Adams K, Samarth A, et al. J Patient Saf 2017 Jun 30. [Epub ahead of print.] Access the abstract on PubMed®.

The physician-as-stakeholder: an exploratory qualitative analysis of physicians' motivations for using shared decision making in the emergency department. Schoenfeld EM, Goff SL, Elia TR, et al. Acad Emerg Med 2016 Dec;23(12):1417-27. Epub 2016 Nov 25. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Promising practices for improving hospital patient safety culture. Campione J, Famolaro T. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf 2018 Jan;44(1):23-32. Epub 2017 Dec 2. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Contact Information

For comments or questions about AHRQ News Now, contact Bruce Seeman at Bruce.Seeman@ahrq.hhs.gov or (301) 427-1998.

Update your subscriptions, modify your password or email address, or stop subscriptions at any time on your Subscriber Preferences Page. You will need to use your email address to log in.

If you have any questions or problems with the subscription service, email: updates@subscriptions.ahrq.gov. For other inquiries, Contact Us.

This service is provided to you at no charge by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Page last reviewed January 2018
Page originally created January 2018
Internet Citation: Updated Toolkit Advises Medical Practices on Improving Diagnostic Testing. Content last reviewed January 2018. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. https://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/e-newsletter/599.html
Back To Top