News in Brief: Week of Nov. 18-22

November 20, 2013 01:15 pm News Staff

This roundup includes the following news briefs:

[News in Brief]

New Report Tallies Incidence, Fallout of Sports-related Concussions in Youth

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the National Research Council recently issued a report on sports-related concussions( in young athletes that identifies a "culture of resistance" when it comes to reporting such injuries and adhering to treatment. The report, titled Sports-Related Concussions in Youth: Improving the Science, Changing the Culture, focused on individuals ages 5-21.

Key findings from the report include

  • overall rates of concussion are highest in football, ice hockey, lacrosse, wrestling, soccer and women's basketball;
  • concussion rates are higher in high-school athletes than in college athletes for many sports, including football, men's soccer and baseball; and
  • except for cheerleading, concussions rates are higher during competitive events than practice.

The very nature of a sports culture "negatively influences athletes' self-reporting of concussion symptoms and their adherence to return-to-play guidance," says the report, noting that athletes who participate -- as well as coaches and parents, in some cases -- don't fully appreciate the health threats posed by concussions.

"The findings of our report justify the concerns about sports concussions in young people," said family physician Robert Graham, M.D., chair of the committee that drafted the report and director of the national program office for Aligning Forces for Quality at George Washington University, in an IOM press release( "However, there are numerous areas in which we need more and better data. Until we have that information, we urge parents, schools, athletic departments and the public to examine carefully what we do know, as with any decision regarding risk, so they can make more informed decisions about young athletes playing sports."

Free AHRQ Tool Kit Aims to Improve Office Laboratory Testing

Offering laboratory testing in medical practices can be a boon to physicians and their patients; however, many practices could use some tips on how to streamline processes involved with operating office labs and handling lab results efficiently.

A new tool kit developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) with help from family physicians who served on both the project and consulting teams now is available at no charge.

The tool kit, “Improving Your Office Testing Process: A Toolkit for Rapid-Cycle Patient Safety and Quality Improvement,(” addresses topics such as how to assess your testing process, engage patients, conduct a chart audit and evaluate electronic health records.

Physicians also can order the tool kit by calling (800) 358-9295. Ask for publication number 13-0035.

CMS Report Reveals Initial Marketplace Enrollment Numbers

On Nov. 13, CMS released its initial enrollment report for the health insurance marketplaces associated with implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The full report, "Initial Enrollment-Related Activity in the Affordable Care Act Marketplaces,(" is available online.

According to the report, as of Nov. 2, 106,185 individuals had selected plans through the marketplace; 975,407 had received a determination of eligibility and 396,261 were determined to be eligible for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program.

Patients' Complex Health Needs Better Met With Health IT Resources

A new report released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) highlights findings from 12 research projects that focused on the use of health information technology. The 27-page report, "Findings and Lessons from the Improving Management of Individuals with Complex Health Care Needs Through Health IT Grant Initiative,"( is available at no charge.

The projects were part of an AHRQ initiative launched in 2007. Researchers aimed to use health IT to improve the coordination and quality of services for patients with complex health conditions, including those patients experiencing transitions of care.

Report authors concluded that the completed projects demonstrated the potential of electronic health records and personal health records to deliver evidence-based information to the point of care and engage clinicians, patients and their families in the exchange of health information.