In The News

Chartbook on Effective Treatment

National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report

This Effective Treatment chartbook is part of a family of documents and tools that support the National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report (QDR). The QDR includes annual reports to Congress mandated in the Healthcare Research and Quality Act of 1999 (P.L. 106-129). This chartbook includes a summary of trends across measures of effective treatment from the QDR and figures illustrating select measures of effective treatment. A PowerPoint version is also available that users can download for presentations.

Access here: http://www.ahrq.gov/research/findings/nhqrdr/2014chartbooks/effectivetx/index.html

NIH researchers link single gene variation to obesity

October 29, 2015

Variation in the BDNF gene may affect brain’s regulation of appetite, study suggests.

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Final Recommendation Statement: Screening for Abnormal Blood Glucose and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force released today a final recommendation statement on screening for abnormal blood glucose and type 2 diabetes mellitus. To view the recommendation and the evidence on which it is based, please go to http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Document/RecommendationStatementFinal/screening-for-abnormal-blood-glucose-and-type-2-diabetes. A fact sheet that explains the final recommendation in plain language is also available. The final recommendation statement can also be found in the October 27, 2015 online issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.

Health care costs for dementia found greater than for any other disease

October 27, 2015

NIH-funded study examines medical, care costs in last five years of life.

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Precision Medicine: A Personal Journey for Answers

October 21, 2015
By: Jamie Roberts, Gaithersburg, Maryland

I’m a nurse and a patient—and I’m tired of hearing from my doctors that although they know what’s wrong with me, they don’t have many ideas for how to fix it. I was having continuing problems with a gastrointestinal (GI) bleed, and when my doctors suggested a risky procedure as a Hail Mary, I finally asked: “What’s the evidence for it?”

That’s why I’m excited about the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI), announced by President Obama earlier this year. The core of the initiative is a plan to recruit a 1 million national research group of people, known as a cohort, to provide genetic, environmental and lifestyle data. Researchers will be able to use the data collected to make diagnoses and develop treatments that target individuals’ personal conditions.

Whether or not a treatment for my condition is found, I’m excited about this journey.

Read more: Precision Medicine: A Personal Journey for Answers

Perspectives on Integrating Behavioral Counseling Interventions into Primary Care

The recommendations and opinions of health care professionals play an important role in motivating and encouraging behavior change by their patients. Behavioral counseling interventions (BCIs) to promote healthy behaviors can significantly reduce leading causes of disease and death in the United States such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and lung disease. Recommendations for delivery of these interventions in primary care have been and continue to be an important part of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) portfolio of clinical preventive services recommendations. However, research on effective BCIs can be more challenging to understand and integrate into recommendations for primary care than other clinical preventive services such as screening or use of preventive medications. Researching and evaluating the effectiveness of behavioral counseling interventions can also be challenging. AHRQ recently sponsored a special supplement to the September 2015 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (AJPM), titled Evidence-Based Behavioral Counseling Interventions as Clinical Preventive Services: Perspectives of Researchers, Funders, and Guideline Developers. The supplement addresses research design and reporting characteristics needed by BCI researchers, and present other perspectives on the evidence needed for integration of BCIs into primary care to include the feasibility dissemination and implementation.

For more information about AHRQ's Practice Improvement efforts visit the National Center for Excellence in Primary Care Research at http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/systems/primary-care/index.html.

More Patients Getting Effective Treatment, but Progress Lags for Managing Chronic Diseases

More patients are getting the right treatment at the right time for their health condition, but progress remains modest for patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes and asthma, according to AHRQ’s recently released Chartbook on Effective Treatment. Overall, about half of the 46 measures of effective treatment showed improvement. Nine of those measures reached optimal performance, including two related to effective treatment for heart disease—providing percutaneous coronary intervention to heart attack patients within 90 minutes and prescribing certain classes of drugs to treat heart disease upon hospital discharge. Meanwhile, four measures worsened over time, including two measures related to effective management of diabetes and one measure of regular use of medications to prevent asthma attacks. Research summaries for clinicians on management of diabetes and management of heart and blood conditions are available from AHRQ’s Effective Health Care program.

HHS Secretary Burwell announces new members of Advisory Council on Alzheimer's Research, Care, and Services

HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell today announced six new members to serve on the Advisory Council on Alzheimer's Research, Care, and Services. The Council was established in 2011 and convenes quarterly to continue development and progress on the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease by HHS, Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense, and the National Science Foundation to address the disease. The new members will replace the members whose terms had expired and those that retired in September and will advise the secretary on federal programs that affect people with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, and they will serve overlapping four-year terms.

Read more about today's announcement.

American Board of Medical Specialties To Offer Maintenance of Certification Credits for Physicians Participating in AHRQ EvidenceNOW Initiative

The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) has announced that it will provide an extra incentive for physicians participating in AHRQ’s EvidenceNOW: Advancing Heart Health in Primary Care initiative. ABMS issued a press release on October 5 noting that physicians who are board certified by one of 20 of the 24 ABMS member boards may now receive maintenance of certification credit for participating in EvidenceNOW. The goal of EvidenceNOW is to help clinicians in small primary care practices systematically implement the latest evidence to help prevent heart attacks and stroke. Through seven regional cooperatives, EvidenceNOW will provide quality improvement services for approximately 1,750 practices with more than 5,000 primary care professionals serving approximately 8 million people.

For more information about AHRQ’s Practice Improvement efforts, visit the National Center for Excellence in Primary Care Research at http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/systems/primary-care/index.html.

AHRQ Studies Provide Insights into Primary Care Transformation

Materials synthesizing valuable insights and lessons learned from three AHRQ-funded grant initiatives on the transformation of primary care practices into patient-centered medical homes (PCMHs) are now available on the AHRQ Web site: http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/systems/primary-care/tpc/index.html.

These materials can be used by those considering primary care transformation and those who are interested in understand the primary care transformation process:

Transforming Primary Care Practice (TPC) grants evaluated the process that primary care practices undergo as they transform into PCMHs. Materials related to this grant initiative include short profiles summarizing each project, a journal supplement in the Annals of Family Medicine, an annotated bibliography of the more than 50 peer-reviewed articles resulting from this grant initiative, and a summary report synthesizing findings across the 14 grants.

Estimating the Costs of Supporting Primary Care Practice Transformation grants explored the costs of implementing and sustaining transformative primary care practice redesign, including the direct costs of primary care transformation, such as staff time and equipment, and indirect costs, such as overhead and forgone revenue. Many studies also estimated the costs of attaining and maintaining PCMH recognition. Materials developed for this grant initiative include short profiles summarizing each project and a practical guide for measuring the costs of primary care transformation.

Infrastructure for Maintaining Primary Care Transformation (IMPaCT) grants provided funding to State-level initiatives that provided a quality improvement infrastructure for primary care through primary care extension agents. Each of the four “model” IMPaCT States developed collaborations with three or four “partner” States to share the successful infrastructure they had developed. Materials developed for this grant initiative include short profiles summarizing key aspects of each project, success stories highlighting unique accomplishments of each grant in its partner States, and a summary report.

For more information about AHRQs Practice Improvement efforts visit the National Center for Excellence in Primary Care Research at http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/systems/primary-care/index.html.