NIH Awards $3 Million Grant to Develop Electronic Network of Family Physicians
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded a three-year, $3 million grant to family physician researchers attempting to use the Internet to connect primary care physicians in the United States. The Electronic Primary Care Research Network (EPCRN) is being developed by the Federation of Practice Based Research Networks in cooperation with the American Academy of Family Physicians’ (AAFP) Center for Health Information Technology and the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. The EPCRN will give researchers access to potential study participants throughout the country and establish a connection that will speed the application of research findings into communities that may not have direct access to research institutions. The initial part of the project is to construct an electronic infrastructure for the NIH using Internet technology, which has the potential to connect every primary care physician in the country. The grant was awarded as part of the NIH’s roadmap program, which is a series of initiatives to identify major opportunities and gaps in medical research. According to federation chair Kevin Peterson, M.D., M.P.H., a member of the AAFP Commission on Clinical Policies and Research, the grant money will be used to address translating research to practice.
CDC Releases Report on Cancer Incidence and Mortality Rates
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published a comprehensive report on state-specific cancer rates with information on incidence and mortality rates. The report, “U.S. Cancer Statistics: 2001 Incidence and Mortality,” includes data on all forms of cancer and indicates whether the incidence of a specific form of the disease is increasing, falling, or remaining stable in a given area. Data includes 92 percent of the U.S. population, with racial, ethnic, and gender information from 43 states and six metropolitan areas. A section on mesothelioma and Kaposi’s sarcoma has been added. Future reports will include data from American Indians and Alaska Natives. To access the data, go to http://seer.cancer.gov/statistics/ or http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/uscs/index.asp?Year=2001. Also available online are the CDC press release (http://www.cdc.gov/od/oc/media/pressrel/r041119.htm) and Fact Sheet (http://www.cdc.gov/od/oc/media/pressrel/fs041119.htm).
NIAAA Announces New Alcohol Prevention Web Site
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) of the NIH has created a Web site targeting sixth to eighth graders (11 to 13 year olds). The Cool Spot (http://www.thecoolspot.gov) uses colorful graphics and Japanese comic book-style characters to present its information. First-time visitors to the site take a quiz that includes questions about types of peer pressure, and the prevalence and risks of drinking. The site offers information on these topics and provides tips on resisting peer pressure.
COLA Launches Updated and Redesigned Web Site
The Commission on Office Laboratory Accreditation (COLA) has updated and redesigned its Web site (http://www.cola.org). The site now offers online accreditation sign-up for new laboratories and a customer profile function. Other features include news, manufacturer and association, and international sections, and a more complete e-commerce interface. COLA is a nonprofit, physician-directed organization promoting quality and excellence in medicine and patient care through programs of voluntary education, achievement, and accreditation. More information about COLA’s health care education opportunities are available online at http://www.LabUniversity.org. Information about COLA may be obtained by calling 1–800–981–9883.
AAFP Offers Free Web Site Program Through Medfusion
The AAFP is providing a free member Web site program through a partnership with Medfusion, Inc., the nation’s leading provider of physician Web sites and secure patient-to-physician communication applications. Through this program, physicians can create a branded and customized Web site. Benefits of the program include a choice of available domain names, free trial offers of Medfusion’s content management system, preloaded patient education information, and daily health tips from the AAFP. Further enhancements, such as upgraded Web packages and secure patient communication features, are available at discounted rates for members. To learn more about Medfusion’s services, go to http://www.medfusion.net/aafp/AAFP_and_Medfusion.pdf. To build your own Web site, go to http://members.aafp.org/members/cgi-bin-noheader/medfusion.pl. Answers to frequently asked questions about the AAFP Medfusion Program are available online at https://www.aafp.org/x30273.xml.
FDA to Create Isotretinoin Registry for Prescribers and Patients
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be strengthening the risk minimization action plan for isotretinoin (Accutane), a potent teratogenic drug indicated for treatment of severe recalcitrant nodular acne. The plan calls for a centralized registry of isotretinoin prescribers, dispensers, and patients using the drug. The registry should be available in July 2005. The registry will link physicians, pharmacies, and patients, ensuring that a negative pregnancy test result is obtained in women of childbearing potential before the drug is dispensed. Informed consent, counseling, and ongoing patient eduction also will be documented. This enhanced plan is part of an effort by the FDA to reduce fetal exposures to isotretinoin. An FDA Talk Paper and question-and-answer materials are available online at http://www.fda.gov/cder/drug/infopage/Accutane/default.htm.