News in Brief: Week of Oct. 29-Nov. 2

October 31, 2012 05:05 pm News Staff

This roundup includes the following news briefs:

[News in Brief]

AAFP NRN Asking for Help With Opioid Screening Instruments

The AAFP National Research Network (AAFP NRN) is reaching out to AAFP members to learn about the various tools family physicians use when prescribing opioids.

The AAFP NRN is developing a project to test a set of tools designed to improve the safety and effectiveness of opioid prescribing for chronic non-terminal pain in primary care practices. With that in mind, the network is asking willing AAFP members to submit a copy of any of the following types of instruments that are currently being used in their practice setting:

  • narcotic/opioid patient contracts;
  • assessments of risk of dependence;
  • diversion protocols and forms;
  • urine drug testing protocols;
  • functional assessments or other visit-to-visit management tools;
  • recommendations for checking pharmacy or state-controlled substances databases;
  • manuals, websites and other resources used to create tools or protocols;
  • screenshots of templates developed for an electronic health record; and
  • other resources used as part of opioid pain management.

For more information, contact AAFP NRN project manager Robin Liston via email; phone at (800) 274-2237, Ext. 3175; or fax at (913) 906-6099.

NIH Creates Patient Registry for Down Syndrome

The NIH has established a Down syndrome patient registry that will make it easier for patients, physicians, researchers, and patient families to stay connected and share relevant information.

According to an Oct. 26 press release(, the confidential online database will be accessible -- with participant permission -- to clinicians and researchers seeking subjects for research studies.

Development of a patient registry was a leading recommendation of the 2007 NIH Down syndrome research plan(

AHIP Introduces New iPad to Chart Health Care Spending

America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) has launched a new interactive iPad app( that provides comprehensive health care spending data in a digital format. This includes a detailed breakdown of how much the nation is spending on physician services and other parts of the U.S. health care system.

According to an AHIP press release(, "the new iPad app consolidates 50 years of data from the Congressional Budget Office, the CDC and the Office of Management and Budget into a series of interactive charts. This, in turn, will allow users to view historical and projected health care spending data at the national level, on a state-by-state basis, on a per capita basis or as a percent of the gross domestic product.

The new app, known as U.S. Health Care Spending 101, can answer questions such as how much is the country projected to spend on health care in 2020, what are the biggest drivers of health care spending growth, what percent of the federal budget is spent on Medicare and Medicaid, and how much does spending on health administrative costs contribute to increases in health care spending.