New AHRQ Competition Aimed at Understanding How Social Factors Impact Community Health Problems

Issue 656
AHRQ News Now is a weekly newsletter that highlights agency research and program activities.
March 19, 2019

AHRQ Stats: Highest and Lowest Hospital Readmission Rates

The highest hospital readmission rates in 2016 were due to blood diseases (25 percent) and tumors (18 percent) while the lowest readmission rate was related to pregnancy/childbirth (4 percent). (Source: AHRQ, Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Statistical Brief #248: Characteristics of 30-Day All-Cause Hospital Readmissions, 2010-2016.)

Today's Headlines:

New AHRQ Competition Aimed at Understanding How Social Factors Impact Community Health Problems

Applications are being accepted now for a new AHRQ challenge competition to develop online tools that use free, publicly available “social determinants of health” data to better understand and predict communities’ unmet healthcare needs. The total prize pool for the Visualization Resources of Community-Level Social Determinants of Health Challenge is $220,000. Participants must develop visualization tools that draw upon information from at least three free, publicly available data sources, whether federal, state or local. Sources may include data from voice and digital assistance service lines, such as 911 emergency services, 311 community services, and 211 personal referrals for community services. The deadline for applications is May 27. To learn more, access the AHRQ press release about the challenge or register for a webinar on April 10 from 1 to 2 p.m. ET. This new challenge is the second in a series of AHRQ competitions to encourage the development of innovative tools to tackle healthcare problems. 

AHRQ Views Blog: Question Builder App Helps Patients Engage in Their Care

In a new AHRQ Views blog post, Jeff Brady, M.D., M.P.H., director of AHRQ’s Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety, highlights how the agency’s new mobile app helps patients prepare for medical appointments. The Question Builder app, available for free on iTunes and Google Play, allows users to input details of their upcoming appointments, such as date, location and reason for the visit. Patients can then build a list of questions for their provider, an important step that may help lead to more timely, accurate diagnoses. As Dr. Brady notes, the app adds value to the exchange of information between patients and clinicians. Access the blog post

Fewer Than Half of American Adults Receive Screening for Alcohol Misuse

Only about 49 percent of American adults age 35 and older are screened for alcohol misuse, a major cause of death, a new AHRQ study found. Of those who report drinking unhealthy amounts of alcohol and received screening, less than one-quarter reported having received counseling, according to the study. The study reviewed 2014 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey data and found that there was room for improvement in screening and counseling for other leading causes of death. Researchers found that the rate for receiving recommended screening and counseling for obesity was about 64 percent; for tobacco use, it was 62 percent. The authors concluded that solutions to increase the delivery of each of these services should be tailored to the local environment to balance the competing demands of primary care. Access the abstract

AHRQ Study Identifies Barriers to Specialty Care for Community Health Center Patients

Community Health Centers (CHCs) often have difficulty referring patients to specialists even after developing strategies to improve such access, according to a new AHRQ study. CHCs are health centers that typically treat a large number of patients who are low-income, insured through Medicaid, uninsured or underinsured, often in rural or inner-city areas. In the study, published in the American Journal of Managed Care, researchers surveyed medical directors of 199 CHCs in nine states and the District of Columbia about access to specialty care for their patients. They found that nearly 70 percent of CHC medical directors reported the barrier of few specialists in Medicaid managed care organizations’ networks accepting new patients; 49 percent reported that managed care administrative requirements for specialty referrals also presented a barrier. The research was performed under AHRQ’s Comparative Health System Performance Initiative, which funds studies about how health care delivery systems promote evidence-based practices and patient-centered outcomes research in delivering care. 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). 

White House Releases Report on Using Technologies To Support Aging Adults

Emerging technologies that have significant promise to improve quality of life for all Americans, particularly those with physical or cognitive burdens due to aging or disability, are identified in a new report from the White House Task Force on Research and Development for Technology to Support Aging Adults. The report—Emerging Technologies to Support an Aging Population—highlights innovations with the potential to improve quality of life, enhance individual choice, reduce caregiver stress and cut healthcare costs. Research and development needs are also identified. The report outlines six areas in which technology has the potential to improve the lives of aging adults: key activities of independent living; cognition; communication and social connectivity; personal mobility; transportation; and access to healthcare. Access the report and a summary.

Primary Care Practices Invited To Join Initiative Aimed at Improving Opioid Management

Get resources and guidance on how to implement effective team-based opioid management strategies in primary care by participating in the AHRQ-funded “Six Building Blocks” project. Selected practices will implement the Six Building Blocks toolkit to improve opioid prescribing and collect metrics to monitor progress. An anticipated 15 participating practices will each receive technical assistance and a $2,500 honorarium to offset costs of producing metrics required for program evaluation. The estimated start date for practices is the end of April. Learn more about the project, including how to participate.

AHRQ in the Professional Literature

Improving best possible medication history with vulnerable patients at an urban safety net academic hospital using pharmacy technicians. Sadasivaiah S, Smith DE, Goldman S, et al. BMJ Open Qual 2017 Oct 21;6(2):e000102. eCollection 2017. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Interobserver reliability of the Berlin ARDS definition and strategies to improve the reliability of ARDS diagnosis. Sjoding MW, Hofer TP, Co I, et al. Chest 2018 Feb;153(2):361-7. Epub 2017 Dec 14. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Impact of a false-positive screening mammogram on subsequent screening behavior and stage at breast cancer diagnosis. Dabbous FM, Dolecek TA, Berbaum ML, et al. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2017 Mar;26(3):397-403. Epub 2017 Feb 9. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Readmission and late mortality after critical illness in childhood. Hartman ME, Saeed MJ, Bennett T, et al. Pediatr Crit Care Med 2017 Mar;18(3):e112-e121. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Impact of systemic antibiotics on Staphylococcus aureus colonization and recurrent skin infection. Hogan PG, Rodriguez M, Spenner AM, et al. Clin Infect Dis 2018 Jan 6;66(2):191-7. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Complying with the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA): challenges and solutions. Hsuan C, Horwitz JR, Ponce NA, et al. J Healthc Risk Manag 2018 Jan;37(3):31-41. Epub 2017 Nov 8. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Usability testing of two ambulatory EHR navigators. Hultman G, Marquard J, Arsoniadis E, et al. Appl Clin Inform 2016 Jun 15;7(2):502-15. eCollection 2016. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Screening for lipid disorders in children and adolescents. Mabry-Hernandez I, Gottfredson R. Am Fam Physician 2017 Oct 15;96(8):529-30. Access the abstract on PubMed®.


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Page last reviewed March 2019
Page originally created March 2019
Internet Citation: New AHRQ Competition Aimed at Understanding How Social Factors Impact Community Health Problems. Content last reviewed March 2019. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.
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