Primary care telemonitoring to support diabetes management

From the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (AHRQ):

According to a new study supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), adding telemonitoring to the routine care diabetes patients receive did not significantly change outcomes. “Effect of home telemonitoring on glycemic and blood pressure control in primary care clinic patients with diabetes,” appeared online January 3 in Telemedicine and e-health. Researchers compared 53 people who received routine care with 55 people who got routine care plus telemonitoring. After 12 weeks of care, hemoglobin A1c (A1c) and blood pressure levels were not significantly different between the two groups. The study findings suggest that the addition of technology alone is unlikely to lead to improvements in outcomes and that telemonitoring of patients should be limited to those who have a significant change to their care plan. More research is needed to determine how primary care practices can effectively use telemonitoring to support patient’s abilities to manage diabetes.

Read the abstract at PubMed.

Children’s EHR format available in USHIK

From the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (AHQR):

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ’S) Children’s EHR Format has moved to the United States Health Information Knowledgebase (USHIK). This  helps align the Children’s EHR Format with related knowledgebase information, such as IT artifacts related to meaningful use, health IT standards, & related clinical quality measures, as well as a friendlier user interface

The Children’s EHR Format, developed by AHRQ & the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), with input from the American Academy of Pediatrics, was released in February 2013.  The Children’s EHR Format is a set of child-specific requirements (& other requirements of special importance for children) that an EHR should meet to perform optimally for the particular health care needs of children.

Find the Children’s EHR Format here under the “Child EHR Format” tab.  For more information, follow this link:

Webinar: Team training and patient safety

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) will host a 1-hour webinar on the use of the agency’s teamwork training program, TeamSTEPPS® & what evidence is available to demonstrate the program’s efficacy in improving patient safety.  David Baker, Ph.D., TeamSTEPPS® Master Trainer & Senior Vice President at IMPAQ International, will discuss the following objectives:

  1. The key components of teamwork
  2. How to develop teamwork in health care
  3. The core components of TeamSTEPPS®
  4. The TeamSTEPPS deployment process
  5. The evidence on team training effectiveness
  6. The effectiveness of TeamSTEPPS

Most health outcomes following surgery are worse for low-income patients

From the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (AHRQ):

A new AHRQ study of 12 measures of outcomes following surgical procedures found that outcomes for patients from both high- and low-income geographic areas improved between 2000 and 2009. In fact, survival following two surgical procedures—coronary angioplasty and carotid endarterectomy—improved for both high- and low-income patients, and the disparity between the two groups narrowed. However, in nine of the remaining 10 outcomes studied, patients from low-income areas fared worse than patients from high-income areas across both years. For example, low-income patients had significantly increased risks for postoperative complications involving respiratory failure and lower survival rates following abdominal aortic aneurysm repair and coronary artery bypass graft. Prior research has shown that low-income patients were more likely to be either uninsured or covered by Medicaid as well as belong to a racial or ethnic minority group, the study said, noting that those characteristics were associated with poorer surgical outcomes. The study, “Despite Overall Improvement in Surgical Outcomes Since 2000, Income-Related Disparities Persist,” co-authored by AHRQ’s Roxanne Andrews and Mehwish Qasim, a doctoral candidate at the University of Iowa, appeared in the October issue of Health Affairs.

To read more articles in the most recent edition of the AHRQ Electronic Newsletter, click here.

New from HCUP – New state databases released

The Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality has released the following state Databases:




HCUP’s “Most Expensive Conditions” infographic

From the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (AHRQ):

HCUP_MostExpensiveCond2011HCUP has released a new infographic, The Top Five Most Expensive Conditions Treated in U.S. Hospitals, which represents data from the recently released Statistical Brief #160: National Inpatient Hospital Costs: The Most Expensive Conditions by Payer, 2011. This statistical brief provides HCUP data on the distribution of costs by expected primary payer & illustrates the conditions accounting for the largest percentage of each payer’s hospital costs.

Find more HCUP infographics & a link to a complete list of statistical briefs here.

Strategies to facilitate the use of health-related evidence

The Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (AHRQ) has released a systematic review, Communication and Dissemination Strategies To Facilitate the Use of Health-Related Evidence.  The review focuses on 3 areas.

First, it addresses the comparative effectiveness of communicating evidence in various contents and formats that increase the likelihood that target audiences will both understand and use the information. Second, it examines the comparative effectiveness of a variety of approaches for disseminating evidence from those who develop it to those who are expected to use it. Third, it examines the comparative effectiveness of various ways of communicating uncertainty associated with health-related evidence to different target audiences, including evidence translators, health educators, patients, and clinicians.

Read the Executive Summary or the full report on the AHRQ website.

MEPS update

New data files & tables have been added to the  Medical Expenditure Panel Survey web site:

    • MEPS 1996-2011 Pooled Linkage Variance Estimation File (MEPS HC-036)
    • MEPS 1996-2011 Replicates for Variance Estimation File (MEPS HC-036BRR)
    • 2011 Non-Group Health Insurance Tables (No. 6 Tables Series)
    • Updated MEPS Household Component Summary Data Tables Technical Notes
    • 2011 Expenditures by Medical Condition Tables

Form more information, visit the MEPS web site.

Meaningful use updates in USHIK

From the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (AHRQ):

Meaningful Use Portal is the “one-stop shop” for Meaningful Use Stage 1 and Stage 2 Clinical Quality Measures, their computation logic, their data elements, & the vocabularies and codes the data elements may take on. This portal has been updated with new functionality:

  • Contains updates to the Clinical Quality Measures & Value Sets including the release package from which they originated. Users can now sort & filter the measures by release package & can download current or historical packages detailing the state of the CQM & Value Sets at the time they were released.
  • The Value Sets contained in the Meaningful Use portal have been updated to include each Code System’s identifier (OID). This information has been added to the screens, the API, & the exports containing Value Set information.
  • The short name for each EH CQM’s is now on the CQM list pages. Users can search or sort by this field.

For more information visit the USIK website.

Hispanic women successfully navigate computer-based bilingual breastfeeding education program

From the AHRQ Electronic Newsletter (13 December 2013):

Research supported by AHRQ evaluated the usability of a computerized learning program to provide breastfeeding education to Hispanic women residing in rural areas. “An interactive, bilingual touch-screen program to promote breastfeeding among Hispanic rural women: usability study” was published online on November 7 by the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) Research Protocols. According to the study and journal abstract, usability evaluation participants were asked to complete a set of tasks while explaining out loud what they were thinking. They also answered questions about their experience with the program. Participants were able to complete the assigned tasks without help and reported a positive experience, according to the study.