Fewer Than Half of U.S. Adults Who Should Take Statins for Heart Disease Prevention Actually Do

Issue 636
AHRQ News Now is a weekly newsletter that highlights agency research and program activities.
October 16, 2018

AHRQ Stats: Variations in Opioids Use According to Income

Nearly 10 percent of elderly adults who were poor and 11 percent of those who were low income obtained at least four opioid prescription fills in 2015-2016, compared with just under 5 percent of high-income elderly adults. (Source: AHRQ, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Statistical Brief #515: Any Use and Frequent Use of Opioids among Elderly Adults in 2015-2016, by Socioeconomic Characteristics.)

Today's Headlines:

Fewer Than Half of U.S. Adults Who Should Take Statins for Heart Disease Prevention Actually Do

Only 42 percent of the 26.8 million adults for whom statins are recommended to prevent heart disease actually take the medications, according to an AHRQ study. Statin use rates have remained flat in the last decade, despite evidence that they reduce death from heart disease. In 2016, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released new recommendations on statin use to prevent heart disease, the leading cause of death among adults age 40 and older. In this study, researchers used data from AHRQ’s Medical Expenditure Panel Survey to assess the size and characteristics of the population that meets the USPSTF criteria for statin use, and calculated the number of statin prescriptions filled and costs. They found that among adults recommended for statin use, women, Hispanics and people living in the South or without health insurance were less likely to receive them. Researchers concluded that new USPSTF recommendations may result in decreased out-of-pocket costs and expanded access to statins. Access the abstract for the study, which was published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

AHRQ Views Blog Post—Seeking Applications To Curb the Public Health Impact of Unhealthy Alcohol Use

Francis Chesley, M.D., AHRQ’s Acting Deputy Director and Director of the Office of Extramural Research, Education, and Priority Populations, highlights new funding available for research to improve screening and treatment for unhealthy alcohol use. A Funding Opportunity Announcement outlines AHRQ’s plans to invest up to $13.5 million over three years to support up to six awards. The initiative is aimed at supporting primary care clinicians, who are the most likely to first see patients engaged in unhealthy alcohol use. Dr. Chesley emphasizes the need to address the public health impacts of unhealthy alcohol use, which is the third leading cause of early death after tobacco use and unhealthy diet combined with physical inactivity. Access the blog post.

New Report Provides Comprehensive Look at Private Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance

Premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance from private-sector employers in the United States ranged from $6,368 for single coverage to more than $18,000 for family coverage in 2017, according to an annual report released by AHRQ. The Medical Expenditure Panel Survey-Insurance Component Chartbook 2017 is an online resource that provides a comprehensive annual update of private, employer-sponsored health insurance in the United States. Private employer-sponsored insurance is the primary source of health insurance coverage for individuals under age 65. The chartbook is based on surveys of more than 42,000 business establishments across the country that make available national and state-level estimates of private employer-sponsored health insurance, including offer rates, costs, employee eligibility and the number of enrollees.

Update to AHRQ Database Identifies Hospitals Associated With Health Systems

A new data file added to AHRQ’s Compendium of U.S. Health Systems identifies 6,726 hospitals and allows researchers, policymakers and others to assess how the hospitals are organized and owned according to the nation’s 626 health systems. The hospital data are publicly available so users can identify hospitals within health systems and then, linking to additional data sources, explore characteristics of the systems and their hospitals, such as cost and quality of care. The compendium was developed by AHRQ’s Comparative Health System Performance Initiative, which studies how health care delivery systems promote evidence-based practices and patient-centered outcomes research in delivering care. Access the new hospital linkage file and technical documentation.

AHRQ-Funded Researchers Propose Ways To Close the Evidence-to-Practice Gap

Learning health systems and researchers can help close the gap between research and practice by integrating evidence in systematic reviews with local health system data, according to an AHRQ-funded article. Researchers writing in the Journal of General Internal Medicine proposed narrowing the evidence-to-practice gap by integrating learning health system results with existing systematic review evidence and providing this combined evidence in a standardized, computable data format. They concluded that these efforts will inform practice, improving both individual and population health. 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).

Data Now Being Accepted for Community Pharmacy Survey

Community pharmacies that have administered AHRQ’s Community Pharmacy Survey on Patient Safety Culture™ can submit their data until Oct. 23 to the Surveys on Patient Safety Culture™ (SOPS™) Database. Participating pharmacies will receive reports comparing their results to the overall database results. Each community pharmacy location, including those from a health care system, is considered a separate community pharmacy for data submission purposes. The reports provide an overall assessment and help identify strengths and opportunities for improvement. Access additional information on how to register and submit data. For questions, email DatabasesOnSafetyCulture@westat.com or call 888-324-9790.

AHRQ in the Professional Literature

Suicide risk assessment and prevention: a systematic review focusing on veterans. Nelson HD, Denneson LM, Low AR, et al. Psychiatr Serv 2017 Oct 1;68(10):1003-15. Epub 2017 Jun 15. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Vision screening in children aged 6 months to 5 years: evidence report and systematic review for the US Preventive Services Task Force. Jonas DE, Amick HR, Wallace IF, et al. JAMA 2017 Sep 5;318(9):845-58.  Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Societal and family lifetime cost of dementia: implications for policy. Jutkowitz E, Kane RL, Gaugler JE, et al. J Am Geriatr Soc 2017 Oct;65(10):2169-75. Epub 2017 Aug 17. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Community health worker support for disadvantaged patients with multiple chronic diseases: a randomized clinical trial. Kangovi S, Mitra N, Grande D, et al. Am J Public Health 2017 Oct;107(10):1660-7. Epub 2017 Aug 17. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Racial and socioeconomic differences manifest in process measure adherence for enhanced recovery after surgery pathway. Leeds IL, Alimi Y, Hobson DR, et al. Dis Colon Rectum 2017 Oct;60(10):1092-1101. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Utilizing a novel mobile health "selfie" application to improve compliance to iron chelation in pediatric patients receiving chronic transfusions. Leonard S, Anderson LM, Jonassaint J, et al. J Pediatr Hematol Oncol 2017 Apr;39(3):223-9. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Effects of behavioral interventions on inappropriate antibiotic prescribing in primary care 12 months after stopping interventions. Linder JA, Meeker D, Fox CR, et al. JAMA 2017 Oct 10;318(14):1391-2. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Legal, practical, and ethical considerations for making online patient portals accessible for all. Lyles CR, Fruchterman J, Youdelman M, et al. Am J Public Health 2017 Oct;107(10):1608-11. Epub 2017 Aug 17. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Contact Information

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Page last reviewed October 2018
Page originally created October 2018
Internet Citation: Fewer Than Half of U.S. Adults Who Should Take Statins for Heart Disease Prevention Actually Do. Content last reviewed October 2018. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. https://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/e-newsletter/636.html
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