Data Analysis Finds Rise in Average Expenditures for Prescription Medications

Issue 664
AHRQ News Now is a weekly newsletter that highlights agency research and program activities.
May 14, 2019

AHRQ Stats: Increased Use of “Teach-Back” Method

The percentage of adults whose healthcare providers always initiated the “teach-back” method increased from about 24 percent in 2011 to 30 percent in 2015. Teach-back, an evidence-based way of confirming understanding, starts when providers ask patients to describe in their own words what their provider just told them. (Source: AHRQ, National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report Data Spotlight: Health Literacy and the Teach-Back Method. [PDF, 753 KB]) 

Today's Headlines:

Data Analysis Finds Rise in Average Expenditures for Prescription Medications

A new AHRQ data analysis found that the average total amount spent on prescription medications for people who had at least one outpatient prescription drug filled has risen considerably in recent years. The data, published today in  Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Statistical Brief #522: Trends in Prescribed Medication Expenditures by Age and Type of Prescription Drug Coverage, 2009 to 2016, show that in 2016, people who obtained at least one outpatient prescription medication spent on average $1,955—31 percent higher than in 2009, when the average was $1,497. Access the statistical brief for details and additional data points.

AHRQ Views Blog: Advancing Patient-Centered Care for People With Multiple Chronic Conditions

AHRQ’s commitment to improving care for the nearly one of three American adults living with multiple chronic conditions (MCC) is the subject of a new blog post by Arlene S. Bierman, M.D., M.S., director of AHRQ’s Center for Evidence and Practice Improvement, and Gopal Khanna, M.B.A., director of AHRQ. Central to AHRQ’s efforts will be research investments that identify areas of unmet need and explore treatment models that are less disease-specific and emphasize whole-person care. In a previous post, Director Khanna identified improving care for people with MCC as one of three urgent challenges that will guide the agency’s future activities. Future blog posts will outline two additional areas of emphasis: establishing a data and analytics platform to support healthcare decision-making, and using evidence-based strategies to reduce diagnostic errors. Access the blog post on MCC. 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). 

AHRQ’s Hospital-Based Re-Engineered Discharge Program Adaptable to Skilled Nursing Facilities

An AHRQ-funded toolkit designed to improve the hospital discharge process can be adapted for use in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), according to a study published in the Journal of Nursing Care Quality. Researchers tracked the implementation of AHRQ’s Re-Engineered Discharge (RED) toolkit over 18 months at four short-stay SNFs in the Midwest. They evaluated whether the RED toolkit could help involve family members and caregivers with patient-focused discharge plans; reconnect patients quickly to primary care providers; and educate patients at discharge about their health condition, medications and other chronic health needs. While staff capacity and corporate-level policies may limit adoption of some components, transitional care processes such as RED can be adapted for SNFs to improve discharges, researchers concluded. Access the abstract

Deadline is June 28 for AHRQ Competition on Advancing Predictive Analytics in Healthcare

Applications are due on June 28 for AHRQ’s challenge competition to use predictive analytics to spur innovation and develop faster solutions to current healthcare challenges. The total prize pool for the Bringing Predictive Analytics to Healthcare Challenge is $225,000. Applicants must use predictive analytics and related methods to estimate hospital inpatient utilization for selected U.S. counties in 2017. The proposal must also provide the predicted values of the number of hospital inpatient discharges and the average lengths of stay for selected U.S. counties in 2016 by applying the model, methods and analytic approach used to obtain the 2017 estimates. Access more information about the challenge.

AHRQ in the Professional Literature

Association between therapy intensity and discharge outcomes in aged Medicare skilled nursing facilities admissions. O'Brien SR, Zhang N. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2018 Jan;99(1):107-15. Epub 2017 Aug 30. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Using clinical data to predict high-cost performance coding issues associated with pressure ulcers: a multilevel cohort model. Padula WV, Gibbons RD, Pronovost PJ, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc 2017 Apr 1;24(e1):e95-e102. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Daily and seasonal influences on dietary self-monitoring using a smartphone application. Pellegrini CA, Conroy DE, Phillips SM, et al. J Nutr Educ Behav 2018 Jan;50(1):56-61.e1. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Trends in rate of seizure-associated hospitalizations among children <5 years old before and after rotavirus vaccine introduction in the United Sates, 2000-2013. Pringle KD, Burke RM, Steiner CA, et al. J Infect Dis 2018 Jan 30;217(4):581-8. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Implementation and impact of patient lay navigator-led advance care planning conversations. Rocque GB, Dionne-Odom JN, Sylvia Huang CH, et al. J Pain Symptom Manage 2017 Apr;53(4):682-92. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Proxy and patient reports of health-related quality of life in a national cancer survey. Roydhouse JK, Gutman R, Keating NL, et al. Health Qual Life Outcomes 2018 Jan 5;16(1):6. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Hospital discharge and selecting a skilled nursing facility: a comparison of experiences and perspectives of patients and their families. Sorkin DH, Amin A, Weimer DL, et al. Prof Case Manag 2018 Mar/Apr;23(2):50-9. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Systemic inflammation in midlife: race, socioeconomic status, and perceived discrimination. Stepanikova I, Bateman LB, Oates GR. Am J Prev Med 2017 Jan;52(1s1):S63-s76. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Contact Information

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Page last reviewed May 2019
Page originally created May 2019
Internet Citation: Data Analysis Finds Rise in Average Expenditures for Prescription Medications. Content last reviewed May 2019. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.
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