Apply by June 28 To Compete in New AHRQ Challenge on Using Predictive Analytics To Understand Healthcare Concerns

Issue 658
AHRQ News Now is a weekly newsletter that highlights agency research and program activities.
April 2, 2019

AHRQ Stats: Hospital Costs for Mental and Substance Use Disorders

Hospitalizations primarily to treat mental and substance use disorders cost $15.3 billion in 2016, or 3.6 percent of total U.S. hospital costs. The average stay was 6.5 days and cost $7,100. (Source: AHRQ, Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Statistical Brief #249: Inpatient Stays Involving Mental and Substance Use Disorders, 2016.) 

Today's Headlines:

Apply by June 28 To Compete in New AHRQ Challenge on Using Predictive Analytics To Understand Healthcare Concerns

Apply today to a new AHRQ challenge competition to explore how predictive analytics may be applied to existing databases to forecast trends in healthcare utilization and spending. First-, second- and third-place winners will divide a $225,000 prize pool in the Bringing Predictive Analytics to Healthcare challenge. Participants must develop a model using predictive analytics and related methods to estimate 2017 hospitalization rates and 2016 average lengths of stay for selected U.S. counties. Participants will have access to several years of discharge data, including hospital inpatient discharges, and may use any publicly available data, such as from the U.S. Census Bureau or other sources. Access AHRQ’s press release to learn more, or visit the Predictive Analytics Challenge website on April 9 to participate in a webinar from 4 to 5:30 p.m. ET. The challenge submission deadline is June 28. Information is also available on other AHRQ challenges designed to develop innovative tools to tackle healthcare problems. 

Patients Keep Unused Opioids Pills In Case of Future Pain

Many patients keep their unused prescribed opioid pills in anticipation of future pain needs, according to a new AHRQ study published in Pain Medicine. Of 235 participants discharged from a large Chicago emergency department between 2015 and 2017, 117 planned to keep their hydrocodone-acetaminophen, and 100 planned to dispose of it. Researchers found patients described their plans for the unused opioids in four primary categories: keep “just in case” of recurrence of a specific medical condition; keep “just in case” of an unspecified condition or emergency; keep for now but will discard “after they expire” or “when my shoulder heals”; and had no identified plans but are keeping them anyway. Notably absent from patients’ responses were intentions to share, abuse or sell their opioid pills. These findings confirm existing literature that patients regularly keep their medications. Access the abstract

AHRQ Views Blog Post: QuestionBuilder App Helps Patients Engage in Their Care

Director Gopal Khanna, M.B.A., highlights the agency’s new mobile app that can help patients prepare for medical appointments. The QuestionBuilder app, available for free on the Apple App Store 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 a timely, accurate diagnosis. The app exemplifies AHRQ's vision for harnessing technology and advancing digital healthcare in ways that improve the lives of patients. Access the blog post and video. To receive all blog posts, submit your email address and select “AHRQ Views Blog.” 

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). 

States With Opioid Treatment Policies See Higher Hospital Readmission Rates

States that made the opioid overdose drug naloxone more accessible had a higher likelihood of opioid-related hospital readmissions than states that restricted availability of the drug, according to an AHRQ-funded study in BMC Health Services Research. Researchers used data from more than 383,000 initial opioid hospitalizations in 13 states from AHRQ’s Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project to examine the relationship between opioid-related readmissions and three policies: expanding availability of naloxone, enacting Good Samaritan laws to protect individuals who obtain emergency services for someone undergoing an overdose, and expanding Medicaid coverage of medication-assisted treatment (MAT). States that made naloxone more available had higher odds of opioid-related hospital readmissions, which could be due to patients’ surviving the initial overdose and getting follow-up hospital care. States that expanded MAT programs had higher odds of hospital readmissions among patients insured by Medicaid. Readmission odds were lower for patients covered by Medicare and private insurance, possibly because of additional benefits for opioid treatment, such as outpatient treatment, available in Medicare and private insurance. Researchers did not find any relationships between Good Samaritan laws and opioid-related readmissions. Access the abstract

Nominations Due May 15 for Appointments to U.S. Preventive Services Task Force

Nominations are being accepted for qualified applicants to serve on the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent, volunteer panel of national experts in disease prevention and evidence-based medicine. The AHRQ-supported Task Force works to improve the health of all Americans by making evidence-based recommendations about clinical preventive services. New members are appointed annually. Qualified candidates must demonstrate expertise and national leadership in clinical preventive services, critical evaluation of research and implementation of evidence-based recommendations in clinical practice. Access more information on the nomination process, how to nominate an individual for consideration or how to self-nominate. 

New Research and Evidence From AHRQ

AHRQ in the Professional Literature

Medical care use and expenditures associated with adult obesity in the United States. Biener AI, Decker SL. JAMA 2018 Jan 16;319(3):218. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Strengthening the efferent arm in public health. Bishai D, Xu J, Sherry M. Am J Public Health 2016 Jul;106(7):1196-7. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Doc, I just ate: interpreting random blood glucose values in patients with unknown glycemic status. Bowen ME, Xuan L, Lingvay I, et al. J Gen Intern Med 2018 Feb;33(2):142-4. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Patients with KCNJ11-related diabetes frequently have neuropsychological impairments compared with sibling controls. Carmody D, Pastore AN, Landmeier KA, et al. Diabet Med 2016 Oct;33(10):1380-6. Epub 2016 Jun 22. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Alcohol screening scores and the risk of intensive care unit admission and hospital readmission. Clark BJ, Rubinsky AD, Ho PM, et al. Subst Abus 2016 Jul-Sep;37(3):466-73. Epub 2016 Jan 5. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Evidence on the longitudinal construct validity of major generic and utility measures of health-related quality of life in teens with depression. Dickerson JF, Feeny DH, Clarke GN, et al. Qual Life Res. 2018 Feb;27(2):447-54. Epub 2017 Nov 17. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

A multicenter pragmatic interrupted time series analysis of chlorhexidine gluconate bathing in community hospital intensive care units. Dicks KV, Lofgren E, Lewis SS, et al. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2016 Jul;37(7):791-7. Epub 2016 Feb 10. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Health information exchange associated with improved emergency department care through faster accessing of patient information from outside organizations. Everson J, Kocher KE, Adler-Milstein J. J Am Med Inform Assoc 2017 Apr 1;24(e1):e103-e110. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Contact Information

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Page last reviewed April 2019
Page originally created April 2019
Internet Citation: Apply by June 28 To Compete in New AHRQ Challenge on Using Predictive Analytics To Understand Healthcare Concerns. Content last reviewed April 2019. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.
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