News in Brief: Week of Aug. 27-31

August 29, 2012 04:45 pm News Staff

This roundup includes the following news briefs:

[News in Brief]

PCMH Provides Platform for Managing Diabetes Care, Says Study

The patient-centered medical home (PCMH) provides a workable environment for managing patients with diabetes because of its focus on team-based, comprehensive care. That is one of the conclusions of an article( in the August issue of Today's Dietitian.

"Historically, diabetes care has revolved around a patient-centered approach, self-management, patient empowerment and team-based care -- concepts that match the PCMH model," says the article. "The difference is that the PCMH focuses more on the coordination of care among various health care practitioners who share patient information with one another. Experts agree that diabetes care provides an excellent example of how the PCMH model works in practical terms as it's designed to improve processes and reduce overall health care costs."

According to the article, diabetes cost the United States economy $174 billion in 2007; $58 billion of that amount resulted from lost workdays, restricted activity and disability. One out of every five U.S. health care dollars is spent on caring for someone with diabetes, says the study.

AHRQ Calls for Information on Quality Measurement Tools

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is looking for information from the public -- including health information technology developers, vendors, quality measure developers, physicians and consumers -- about successful strategies and challenges regarding quality measurement enabled by health IT.

According to a notice in the Aug. 22 ( Register(, AHRQ has extended its original deadline to Sept. 21 to give the public more time to respond. The agency has posted a list of 15 questions in that notice, and interested parties are asked to send their responses via e-mail.

The AAFP already responded to AHRQ questions in an Aug. 20 letter (addressed to AHRQ Director Carolyn Clancy, M.D.

In that letter, AAFP President Glen Stream, M.D., M.B.I, of Spokane, Wash., commented on all 15 questions. For example, he pointed out that, to date, the concerns of physicians in small primary care practices on this topic have not been heard because they have not been sufficiently engaged in the conversation. He said quality measures must be "clinically relevant and actionable for primary care physicians if they are to be asked to invest time and resources for implementation."

Stream also noted that vendors have shown little interest in engaging with the end users of health IT to improve clinical quality measurements.

Free Handbook on Using Interactive Preventive Care Records Available

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has released a free handbook( aimed at helping physicians deploy an interactive preventive health record (IPHR).

The handbook, "An Interactive Preventive Care Record: A Handbook for Using Patient-Centered Personal Health Records to Promote Prevention," is intended to help physicians interested in using an IPHR assess their readiness, implement an IPHR system, engage patients and understand the challenges associated with implementation.

Information on how IPHRs can engage patients in their own preventive health care is available in another AHRQ document( titled "Patients Take a Bite of Prevention Apple With Web-based Interactive Personal Health Record."

In addition, Annals of Family Medicine recently published study results showing that use of an IPHR improves preventive care.

Consumer Reports Publishes Second Report Rating Physician Practices

For the second time this year, Consumer Reports has published a special section rating physician practices on quality and cost of care.

In June, the consumer magazine published for the first time a special insert in its Massachusetts edition rating nearly 500 practices in the state based on a comprehensive survey of patient experiences with those practices. Most recently, Consumer Reports published a report( rating 552 physician group practices in Minnesota on how well the practices controlled diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

The rating scores are based on quantifiable measures collected by the practices themselves and are tied to how well the practices controlled patient blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as blood sugar levels among patients with diabetes, according to the report.

Got Fish? Campaign Encourages Asking Patients About Seafood Intake

A recently launched campaign sponsored by the National Fisheries Institute hopes to boost the amount of seafood Americans eat from the current average of one serving per week to federal dietary guidelines' recommended two to three servings per week. The Get Real About Seafood website( describes the benefits of eating seafood for various patient populations and offers resources physicians can use to start a conversation with patients about those benefits.

Visitors to the website will find a host of recipes -- complete with nutritional information -- for everything from tuna to tilapia and from clams to crab. Also included on the site are links to relevant research studies categorized by body system and life stage, as well as to other Web-based resources, videos and a frequently asked questions document.

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