Screening in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Reduced Staph Infection Rate by 43 Percent

Issue 640
AHRQ News Now is a weekly newsletter that highlights agency research and program activities.
November 13, 2018

AHRQ Stats: Opioid Use Among Seniors

More than 19 percent of seniors filled at least one outpatient opioid prescription per year, on average, in 2015-16. More than 7 percent obtained four or more. (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:

Screening in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Reduced Staph Infection Rate by 43 Percent

Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore reduced the frequency of methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) infections in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) by 43 percent over a three-year period after staff began screening and treating babies who were harboring germs that might cause the infection, according to new AHRQ-supported research. Researchers said that some NICUs are already screening and treating babies for methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) transmission and infections. However, MSSA infections occur more frequently and pose similar risks of death in newborns, although they respond better to antibiotics typically used to treat staph infections. Researchers concluded that incorporating MSSA screening into NICU infection control practices may be an important step for reducing all staph infections. Access the abstract of the study, published in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, as well as a profile of study author and AHRQ grantee Aaron Milstone, M.D.  

AHRQ Views Blog Post: Keeping the Focus on Patients in a Rapidly Evolving Digital World

In a new blog post, AHRQ Director Gopal Khanna, M.B.A., affirms the agency’s ambitions to seize opportunities to improve health care in an increasingly digital health care landscape while remaining focused on serving the needs of patients. AHRQ’s strategies to improve quality, safety and value are occurring while numerous technological innovations are redefining health care delivery. While quality improvement efforts are ultimately aimed at helping patients, AHRQ also understands its efforts must support the needs of numerous stakeholders, including doctors, nurses and other clinical professionals; C-suite executives; hospital administrators; health systems leaders; and health services researchers. Access the blog post.

Toolkit Helps Pediatric Primary Care Providers Avoid Potential Diagnostic Errors

A new AHRQ-funded toolkit to help pediatric primary care providers avoid potential diagnostic errors is now available. The Reducing Diagnostic Errors in Primary Care Pediatrics toolkit was developed as part of a project that tracked diagnostic error rates and used best practices for diagnosing depression and elevated blood pressure, and effectively using laboratory results in children and adolescents. These conditions are widely misdiagnosed in pediatric primary care, with elevated blood pressure and adolescent depression misdiagnosed in nearly three-fourths of cases. Throughout the project, more than 100 primary care physicians in 30 practices around the nation used a wide range of tools and resources to implement best practices for the measurement, screening, recognition, diagnosis, follow-up and reduction of diagnostic errors in pediatric patients. The new toolkit contains resources, including videos, to assist primary care practice teams with a systematic approach to reducing diagnostic errors and improving care for children.   

New AHRQ Report Shows Frequency of Substance Use at State, County Levels

A new report from AHRQ provides the most recent state- and county-level statistical analysis of hospitalizations related to the four most common types of substance-related care: alcohol, opioids, cannabis and stimulants. The analysis is based on 2013-15 data from 31 states that provide data to AHRQ’s Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP), the nation’s most comprehensive source of hospital data. Among the report’s highlights:

  • Of counties providing data, Baltimore City, Maryland, had the highest rates of opioid (1,592 per 100,000 population), cannabis (843) and stimulant (931) stays and the third highest rate of alcohol-related stays (1,955).
  • Starr County, Texas, had the lowest rate of opioid-related stays (15 per 100,000), while Val Verde County, Texas, had the lowest rate for cannabis-related stays (19).
  • The alcohol stay rates in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, among the highest in the nation, cost an average of $98 and $95 per resident annually, respectively.

Overall, from 2013 to 2015, there was an average of one substance-related inpatient stay annually for every 100 people in the United States.

AHRQ Grantees Named Million Hearts “Champions” for Controlling Hypertension

Ten primary care practices participating in AHRQ’s EvidenceNow project have been named 2018 Million Hearts® Hypertension Control Champions for achieving blood pressure control for at least 80 percent of adult patients with hypertension. In total, 18 health care practices and community health centers nationwide were recognized for blood pressure control by Million Hearts®, which seeks to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes by 2022. AHRQ grantees recognized for their successes are among participants in EvidenceNow, an initiative dedicated to helping small- and medium-sized primary care practices across the country use the latest evidence to improve the heart health of millions of Americans. Access more information about the award-winners.

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). 

Pharmacists Use Phone Surveys To Detect Adverse Drug Events

Adverse drug events that patients otherwise would overlook are more likely to be reported using an innovative telephone outreach system. More than 3.5 million doctor visits and 1 million emergency room visits each year occur as a result of adverse drug events. To alleviate this burden, AHRQ-supported researchers used automated phone calls to monitor 776 patients at risk for adverse drug events from new prescriptions. An automated telephone system called patients one month after they were given a new prescription drug for hypertension, diabetes, insomnia or depression and again three months later. Patients who reported possible drug-related symptoms were transferred to a pharmacist who assessed their symptoms and notified the patient’s doctor if urgent follow-up or medical attention was needed. Access the abstract of the study, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

AHRQ in the Professional Literature

Non-medical opioid use and sources of opioids among pregnant and non-pregnant reproductive-aged women. Kozhimannil KB, Graves AJ, Jarlenski M, et al. Drug Alcohol Depend 2017 May 1;174:201-8. Epub 2017 Mar 10. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Long-term impact of a postdischarge community health worker intervention on health care costs in a safety-net system. Galbraith AA, Meyers DJ, Ross-Degnan D, et al. Health Serv Res 2017 Dec;52(6):2061-78. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Gaps in evidence regarding iron deficiency anemia in pregnant women and young children: summary of US Preventive Services Task Force recommendations. Kemper AR, Fan T, Grossman DC, et al. Am J Clin Nutr 2017 Dec;106(Suppl 6):1555s-58s. Epub 2017 Oct 25. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Mechanical or biologic prostheses for aortic-valve and mitral-valve replacement. Goldstone AB, Chiu P, Baiocchi M, et al. N Engl J Med 2017 Nov 9;377(19):1847-57. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

"Connecting the Dots": a qualitative study of home health nurse perspectives on coordinating care for recently discharged patients. Jones CD, Jones J, Richard A, et al. J Gen Intern Med 2017 Oct;32(10):1114-21. Epub 2017 Jul 13. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

AHRQ series on complex intervention systematic reviews-paper 2: defining complexity, formulating scope, and questions. Kelly MP, Noyes J, Kane RL, et al. J Clin Epidemiol 2017 Oct;90:11-8. Epub 2017 Jul 15. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

The availability of community health center services and access to medical care. Kirby JB, Sharma R. Healthc 2017 Dec;5(4):174-82. Epub 2017 Jan 5. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Sex differences in inflammatory markers and health status among young adults with acute myocardial infarction: results from the VIRGO (Variation in Recovery: Role of Gender on Outcomes of Young Acute Myocardial Infarction Patients) Study. Lu Y, Zhou S, Dreyer RP, et al. Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes 2017 Feb;10(2):e003470. Epub 2017 Feb 22. Access the abstract on PubMed®. 

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Page last reviewed November 2018
Page originally created November 2018
Internet Citation: Screening in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Reduced Staph Infection Rate by 43 Percent. Content last reviewed November 2018. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.
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