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.

New edition of Health Communication Science Digest

From the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC):

This month in the Digest there are several papers reporting the effectiveness of public health communication messaging (Auchincloss et al; Beales & Kulick; Chang [2 papers]; Dillard & Main; Glanz et al; Huang & Yang; Lee, J.). Other reports examine audience segmentation and targeting (McInnes et al; Owen et al; Stanton & Guion) and aspects of health message framing (Berger & Iyengar; Jernigan et al; Kang & Walsh-Childers; Lee, S. et al; Schuldt; Smith et al). Issues in public health communication via new media (Abroms et al) and risk communication (Blanton et al) are reported. Health communication strategies are also highlighted (Marshall; Parvanta et al).

Read the complete Digest here.

Mind the Science Gap ends

MTSG_H8I’m sad to report that Mind the Science Gap, a science communication training blog from the University of Michigan School of Public Health,  has ended.

In January 2012, Mind The Science Gap was launched as a unique approach to helping public health graduate students at the University of Michigan hone their science communication skills.  Since then, we’ve seen nearly 400 posts, over 4000 comments, half a million page views, and some fantastic writing on science and public health.  And most importantly, the course has provided nearly 40 early career public health professionals with a unique set of communication skills.

Unfortunately, all good things have to come to end at some time, and Mind The Science Gap is no exception.  The course started as an experiment in how social media can be used to develop and enhance science communication skills.  In this it was highly successful.  But it was also extremely time consuming, dependent on feedback from readers and other science communicators, and reliant on the participants being able to navigate complex and sometimes controversial topics from the get-go.  And as my time has become increasingly taken up with my academic responsibilities as department chair and director of the University of Michigan Risk Science Center, I sadly find myself having less time than necessary to devote to the course and its students.

On top of this, it has become increasingly difficult to encourage readers and other science writers and communicators to provide critical feedback to the course participants.

Read more on their website, & read some of the almost 400 posts that you may have missed.

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.

Sugar-sweetened beverages playbook

One of the 4 legal tools discussed in the current issue of the CDC’s Public Health Law News, is a Sugar-sweetened beverages playbook from ChangeLab.  The playbook offers a sequence of ten strategies—from public education campaigns to restrictions on the availability of sugar-sweetened beverages—communities and states can use to reduce consumption of SSBs. Find more information and download a poster and the playbook.

Health Literate Care Model

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

HealthLiterateCareModelIn 2012, Health Affairs published an article proposing a Health Literate Care Model that weaves health literacy strategies into the widely adopted Care Model (formerly known as the Chronic Care Model). The article describes how health care organizations can infuse health literacy into all aspects of planning and operations, including self-management support, delivery system design, shared decision-making support, clinical information systems to track and plan patient care, and helping patients access community resources. The article is by HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Howard Koh, AHRQ researcher Cindy Brach, Linda Harris from the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, and Michael Parchman who is the Director of the McColl Center for Health Care Innovation.

Now a graphic of the Health Literate Care Model has been developed. Viewers familiar with the Care Model will recognize the health system elements that lead to productive interactions between health care teams and patients and their families. New is set of health literacy strategies that mediate those health system elements to ensure that interactions are not only productive, but are also health literate.

Access the graphic and the article here.

Hearsay or Fact: A Symposium on the Communication of the Affordable Care Act

“Hearsay or Fact,” a free symposium sponsored by the Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation, the Knight-Wallace Fellows at Michigan, & the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation is scheduled for Monday, November 4, from 1:00 to 5:00 in the Michigan League Ballroom.  Participants include:


  • John Z. Ayanian, MD, MPP, Director, Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation
  • Michael F. Cannon, Director of Health Policy Studies, Cato Institute
  • Heather H. Howard, JD, Director, RWJF State Health Reform Assistance Network


  • Reed Abelson, health care business reporter, The New York Times
  • Steven Brill, author “Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills are Killing Us,” TIME Magazine
  • Jonathan Cohn, senior editor, The New Republic; author of “Sick: The Untold Story of America’s Health Care Crisis—and the People Who Pay the Price”
  • Holman W. Jenkins, Jr., member editorial board and columnist, The Wall Street Journal
  • Sarah Kliff, health policy reporter, The Washington Post
  • Julie Rovner, health policy correspondent, NPR

For more information, visit the web site or contact  Heather Guenther



Patient & family engagement in hospital quality & safety

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

A new online resource from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) helps hospitals improve quality and safety by building productive partnerships between health care professionals, patients, and family members. Patient and family engagement is a critical part of what hospitals should already be doing.  The Guide to Patient and Family Engagement in Hospital Safety and Quality outlines concrete opportunities to engage patients and families in individual care and at an organizational level.

The guide includes strategies that hospitals can implement such as adding layperson advisors and improving communications during admissions; at the bedside during shift changes; and with discharge planning. Each strategy has tools, materials, and trainings for patients, families, hospital clinicians, and staff. You can also find out what other hospitals did and the lessons learned.

Campaign to help Spanish speakers compare treatment options

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

Take advantage of Toma las riendas: (Take the reins), AHRQ’s campaign to encourage Hispanics to take control of their health and explore treatment options. Free Spanish-language resources can help Hispanics compare the benefits and risks of treatment option and prepare to discuss these options with their health care providers.

Get connected to Toma las riendas:

Sign up for the text messaging program that delivers short health messages and tips directly to patients and caregivers via their mobile phones. Text COMPARE to 22764 for messages in English or text MISALUD to 22764 for messages in Spanish.

Visit our Spanish-language Facebook page that encourages Hispanics to learn more about their health condition and participate in conversations with their health care professional.

Call 1-800-358-9295 and use reference code C-01 to get free print copies of clinician and consumer research summaries from AHRQ’s Effective Health Care program.