Web Sites Expand Health Information for Asian and Pacific Americans
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently launched two new online health resources aimed at Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders to aid in the prevention and treatment of disease in these populations. The department added a new section to its healthfinder Web site (www.healthfinder.gov/justforyou) that is devoted to these populations and offers multilingual information in Cambodian, Chinese, Hmong, Korean, Laotian, Samoan, Thai, Tongan, and Vietnamese. This resource is intended for caregivers, patients, and others who are searching for health information on behalf of those who feel more comfortable using their native language. The National Institutes of Health's (NIH's) U.S. National Library of Medicine has launched a companion Web site (asianamericanhealth. nlm.nih.gov) that features census data on major Asian American populations, background on cultural traditions and heritage, and links to health policy offices, online medical databases, publications, and other organizations. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, more than 12 million Americans identify themselves as Asian American, Native Hawaiian, or other Pacific Islander.
Consensus Report Identifies 30 Patient Safety Practices for Health Care Settings
The National Quality Forum recently released a consensus report of representatives of the nation's leading health care and consumer groups that endorses the use of 30 patient safety practices in health care settings to ensure the safety and quality of health care. Some of the patient safety practices include (1) informing patients that they might have better results if they have certain high-risk elective surgeries at facilities that have demonstrated superior outcomes; (2) specifying explicit protocols for hospitals and nursing homes to ensure adequate nurse staffing; (3) making sure hospital pharmacists are more actively involved in the medication use process; (4) hiring critical care medicine specialists to manage all patients in hospital intensive care units; and (5) creating a culture of safety in all health care settings. The report, “Safe Practices for Better Healthcare: A Consensus Report,” also identifies 27 practices that have the greatest potential for reducing medical errors and adverse events. The member organizations of the National Quality Forum represent all sectors of health care, including health care providers, consumers, employers, insurers, and other stakeholders. Additional information about the National Quality Forum is available online at www.qualityforum.org.
Sexual Issues Are Top Health Concern for American Adolescents and Young Adults
According to a national survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation, the biggest health concerns of adolescents and young adults aged 13 to 24 years are sexual health issues such as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), and unintended pregnancy. Nearly one third of adolescents and young adults stated that they had experienced pressure to have sex. According to the survey, 80 percent of those surveyed believe that people their age usually use alcohol or drugs before having sex. The survey also found that a majority of young persons are misinformed about the types of protection against STDs that they receive from various contraceptive measures. Ninety percent of sexually active adolescents reported using birth control or protective measures at least most of the time that they have sex, and 70 percent said they use birth control or protective measures every time they have sex. Among adolescents, the top three sources of information about sex and relationships are sex education in school, friends, and parents. The full survey results and summary can be found online at www.kff.org/content/2003/3218.
Report Shows That 25 Percent of American Adults Are Physically Inactive
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released a report that shows that approximately 25 percent of American adults engage in low levels of physical activity or no activity and that 19 percent of adults engage in high levels of physical activity. Researchers evaluated activity at work and during leisure time. Usual daily activity was defined as work activities, commuting, running errands, performing household chores, or any other activities not performed during leisure time. Regular leisure time physical activity consisted of exercise, sports, or active hobbies that occur five or more times a week for at least 30 minutes each time. Men were more likely than women to engage in a high level of overall physical activity, and these rates declined with increasing age. Persons who are more active during their usual daily activities were more likely to engage in regular physical activity during their leisure time compared with those who mostly sit, stand, or lift only light loads during usual daily activities. The report, “Physical Activity Among Adults: United States, 2000,” is based on approximately 32,000 interviews conducted with adults at least 18 years of age by the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). The full report is available online at www.cdc.gov/nchs.
Conference on Patient Education to Celebrate 25th Anniversary
The 25th Anniversary Conference on Patient Education will be held in San Antonio, Nov. 20–23, 2003, for family physicians and other primary care health professionals. The theme of this year's conference is “Partnering with Patients: Forging the Future.” The keynote address “Patient Education at the Speed of Thought" will be presented by John Bachman, M.D., Sanders Professor of Primary Care, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Attendees can choose from over 100 continuing medical education workshops, seminars, Internet/computer sessions; gain practical skills to increase patient satisfaction and ensure high quality patient care; learn team strategies for their practice or residency program; and visit the exhibit area for patient education materials and resources. For more information on the conference, go to www.aafp.org/pec.xml. The conference is sponsored by the American Academy of Family Physicians and the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine.