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Agency for Healthcare Research Quality

Research Activities

June 2004, No. 286


About Research Activities

Feature Story

Children in hospitals frequently experience medical injuries

Outcomes/Effectiveness Research

Regular use of inhaled antiinflammatory medication improves outcomes for children with persistent asthma
Shorter hospital length of stay not associated with worse outcomes for patients without DNR orders
Variation in outcomes is small for CABG surgery patients treated at high-volume vs. lower volume hospitals
Researchers examine the impact of medication costs and mental health care for patients with diabetes
Both the nature of physician contact and visit frequency are important factors in hemodialysis patient outcomes
Despite international treatment variations in cataract management, optimal vision is the usual patient outcome
Researchers describe challenges in translating research findings into clinical practice

Pharmaceutical Research

Physician prescribing preference plays a greater role than patient risk factors in prescribing COX-2 inhibitors
Cyclic antidepressant doses higher than 100 mg should be used cautiously due to increased risk of sudden cardiac death

Clinical Decisionmaking

Screening sigmoidoscopy may be less effective for detecting colorectal cancer in women and older people
Review illuminates women's childbirth preferences following a previous cesarean delivery
Study findings suggest that invasive prenatal diagnostic testing should be offered to all women
Following a rigorous protocol for in-hospital and postdischarge management may lower rates of neonatal jaundice
Routine assessment of asthma symptoms can predict the likelihood of related ER visits and hospitalizations
Emergency physicians vary widely in the prescribing of opioid analgesics for common, painful conditions
Using a simple blood test to identify patients at risk for heart failure is cost effective
Guidelines can help to distinguish anthrax from influenza in patients with flu-like illness and exposure to anthrax

Elderly/Long-term Care

Doctors can use proactive office systems and patient education to persuade more elderly patients to get flu shots
Fewer Medicare patients die in the hospital than in the past, but those who do receive more intensive and expensive treatment
Nursing homes generally respect residents' do-not-hospitalize orders, but not always
Researchers examine Medicare costs and use of hospice care
Nursing home staffing and quality improved after passage of the Nursing Home Reform Act

Minority Health

Poorer outcomes from stroke are more common among minorities than whites
Enhancing Hispanics' access to medications through increased Medicaid eligibility may improve their use of antihypertensives
Many different subgroups make up the Hispanic population, and they have diverse health needs and barriers to care

Primary Care Research

Primary care of adults with chronic acid-related disorders could be improved if more doctors followed treatment guidelines
Relief of symptoms from proton-pump inhibitor treatment does not necessarily confirm diagnosis of GERD
Patients are more likely to stop smoking if they are advised by their doctors to do so
Radical new approaches to taking a thorough family history will be needed to meet the challenges of genetic testing

HIV/AIDS Research

Referral of ED patients to outpatient HIV testing is not an effective way to identify unrecognized HIV infection

Patient Safety/Quality

Doctors' disclosure of medical errors improves patient satisfaction but may not prevent legal action
Hospital workers worry about patient safety at their hospitals and look to hospital leaders for a commitment to safety
Researchers identify five information technologies that have great potential to improve patient safety for children
Conference participants focus on the role of nursing in health care quality improvement

Bioterrorism Research

Value to clinicians of educational Web sites on bioterrorism is unproven

Health Care Costs and Financing

People with diabetes do a better job of managing their disease when HMOs cover diabetes self-monitoring devices
Despite some slowing, the growth in drug expenditures continues to outpace growth in overall health care expenditures
Most appeals to two of the Nation's largest HMOs to cover emergency care are resolved in favor of patients
Patient age has more influence on Medicare costs for end-of-life care than race, income, or sex

Agency News and Notes

AHRQ's Senior Advisor on Women's Health discusses current efforts to eliminate inequalities in care
Task Force recommends vision screening for children younger than age 5
AHRQ makes access to hospital data easier


New AHRQ tool can help hospitals better prepare for a disaster
New publications now available from AHRQ
AHRQ's third annual patient safety conference set for September
Grant final reports now available from NTIS

Research Briefs

Current as of June 2004
AHRQ Publication No. 04-0062

Internet Citation:

Research Activities newsletter. June 2004, No. 286. AHRQ Publication No. 04-0062. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.


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