Issue Archive

2012

Issue Date: 09/12/12
The composition of the health care workforce continues to evolve to meet the needs of patients within a changing health care environment. Policies and programs designed to leverage the unique skill sets of community members and health workers can play an important role in the development and...
Issue Date: 08/29/12
Visits to the emergency department (ED) for nonemergent conditions result in unnecessary health costs and overcrowding, and often indicate poor primary care access for those who can least afford to pay for health care. This issue’s featured Innovations describe a public-private consortium and...
Issue Date: 08/15/12
Traditional models of health care financing and delivery can lead to inefficient care and often lack incentives to control high health care costs and improve quality. This issue’s featured policy Innovations describe an insurer’s contracting program and a medical center’s accountable care...
Issue Date: 08/01/12
Sepsis is a common complication of infection that often leads to lengthy hospitalizations and a high risk of death. Early diagnosis of sepsis and prompt treatment with antibiotics can reduce mortality and support improved outcomes. The featured Innovations describe two programs in California...
Issue Date: 07/18/12
According to the 2011 AHRQ National Healthcare Disparities Report, disparities still exist and health care quality and access are suboptimal. While there is not a simple solution to eliminating disparities, leveraging peer networks and the power of peer-to-peer interactions has the potential to...
Issue Date: 07/03/12
Managing chronic diseases such as diabetes, asthma, and cardiovascular disease presents challenges both for maintaining optimal patient health and keeping health care costs in check. Partnerships between clinical practices, health departments, and community organizations can promote the delivery of...
Issue Date: 06/20/12
Many patients and family members experience an unexpected death or an unexpected clinical event, leading to difficulty understanding and coping with the event. When health care professionals deny and defend their actions and limit communications, patients and/or their family members tend to feel...
Issue Date: 06/06/12
With this biweekly issue, the AHRQ Health Care Innovations Exchange expands its scope to include health care policy innovations in addition to its current focus on health care service delivery innovations. Health care policy innovation profiles will describe creative implementations of new or...
Issue Date: 05/23/12
An increasing number of older adults have physical and mental problems that require assistance with daily living. Most seniors prefer to live independently for as long as possible in their homes. Outreach workers, who know their communities and can connect seniors to available health care and...
Issue Date: 05/09/12
Pediatric asthma affects nearly 6 million children in the United States, reducing quality of life and often leading to costly emergency department visits and inpatient admissions. Low-income, urban children experience higher asthma-related morbidity due to environmental factors and poor access to...
Issue Date: 04/25/12
Low-income families face multiple challenges related to eating healthfully, including the relatively high cost of healthy foods, the lack of healthful choices in urban neighborhoods, and limited knowledge on how to prepare nutritious meals. Family-focused interventions can help overcome such...
Issue Date: 04/11/12
Recognized by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) as one of the six major domains of quality, patient-centeredness encompasses respect for and responsiveness to the needs, preferences, values, and cultural traditions of the individual patient, in addition to involving patients and families in clinical...
Issue Date: 03/28/12
The goal of AHRQ's Health Care Innovations Exchange is to speed the implementation of innovative ways to improve and deliver health care. This issue focuses on cardiovascular health and the spread of innovations, from the infrastructure needed to dissemination strategies. The Featured...
Issue Date: 03/14/12
Residents of urban, low-income communities often face multiple barriers to accessing preventive health care services and specialty care for chronic conditions, which can contribute to health disparities. The featured Innovations describe three programs that used different community-based...
Issue Date: 02/29/12
Nearly 65 million Americans care for an aging, seriously ill or disabled family member or friend. Caregivers, who tend to be women, are often overwhelmed by managing the daily needs of patients with dementia, which takes a toll on their emotional and physical health.  The featured...
Issue Date: 02/15/12
Underserved populations face multiple barriers to accessing mental health care, often lacking regular, high quality treatment and support. Intensive care coordination for underserved individuals in need of mental health services can address barriers to care and reduce disparities. The featured...
Issue Date: 02/01/12
Ongoing monitoring of chronically ill individuals, especially older patients, can allow providers to intervene in a timely fashion, helping to prevent exacerbations and complications, reduce care costs, and keep patients in their homes. However, relatively few health systems have the capacity to...
Issue Date: 01/18/12
Health interventions that are culturally tailored take into account the beliefs, values, and circumstances of specific cultural groups. Developing programs in a culturally relevant context can improve their effectiveness, particularly in traditionally underserved communities. The featured...

2011

Issue Date: 12/21/11
Information technology is increasingly being used to improve patient care processes and outcomes. Systems that facilitate access to comprehensive patient information before and during patient visits can enhance the ability of clinicians to provide efficient and systematic care management. The...
Issue Date: 12/07/11
The American medical system is extraordinarily fragmented and difficult to navigate. The average Medicare patient sees seven different doctors, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. Partnerships are an important strategy to enhance care coordination for patients.  Partnerships...
Issue Date: 11/23/11
Patient engagement is an ongoing process in which patients take an active role in their own health care. Many factors—including personal skills, motivation, and behaviors—affect an individual's ability to effectively engage in care. The featured Innovations describe one program that used a...
Issue Date: 11/09/11
Treatment algorithms, also referred to as practice guidelines, are a series of treatment steps, each of which is defined by the clinical response of the patient to the preceding step. Algorithms are often integrated into computerized clinical decision support systems in patient care settings....
Issue Date: 10/26/11
Individuals with alcohol dependence are often hospitalized and may require treatment for acute intoxication or to reduce the risk of alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Alcohol and drug dependence are generally considered to be chronic disorders that require some form of continuing care after initial...
Issue Date: 10/12/11
Nearly 1.7 million hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) occur annually, leading to approximately 99,000 deaths every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (Adobe Reader is required to view or print the PDF. Download a free copy here.) Recent efforts have...
Issue Date: 09/28/11
Despite progress in reducing tobacco use, in 2010 nearly one in five adults smoked cigarettes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Treatments such as counseling and use of medications can be effective, but many tobacco users lack awareness of or access to smoking...

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