Tag Archives: AHRQ

AHRQ and the health of Americans: Part 3

Here we are with post #3 on the article that I’ve been talking about this week. It is a good start into some conversations or topics I hope to continue with in the future on the blog.

In part 3 I’m kind of skipping to a question that has more relevance to the technology focus of the blog and the interview. And I must say that I am quite impressed with Clancy’s response so I’m just going to re-post it here for you!

Q: The role of social media and Web messaging continues to grow, which in turn changes the way all health practitioners must communicate with consumers. In what ways has AHRQ embraced the digital world?

We are fairly active on social media.  We have had Twitter accounts since 2009. Our main account,@AHRQNews, has almost 15,000 followers ranging from health care professionals to consumers and members of the media. Our main YouTube channel, AHRQHealthTV, has almost 700 subscribers and we have different playlists for audiences interested in patient safety and prevention, as well as both in English and Spanish.  We recently launched an AHRQ Facebook page as well (@ahrq.gov) where we communicate AHRQ’s research and tools with consumer-friendly messages.  We also feature a podcast series called Healthcare 411 on our website and it is also broadcast to about 2,000 radio stations across the country.  Achieving patient-centered care is all about getting valid, reliable information to where patients live, work and play – rather than relying only on information dispenses during a clinical encounter.  We really believe that adding these different communication tools helps us reach a wide variety of audiences where they are – and see this as a shared opportunity with our public health colleagues.


That is a heck of a lot of resources, general ones at least, to get a patient started on asking questions, getting information, and at the least starting their own technological path to health. OK, I’m stoked for the moment and have a lot more reading and video watching to do on this one!

So do you do any reading or have any sites that you frequent when you are looking for information? I know those in Texas have recently been concerned with West Nile virus so you may have some sites that you kept up with?

Post #1 or Post #2


AHRQ and the health of Americans: part 2

Yesterday I shared with you the first of a series based on an article in Public Health Newswire where Carolyn Clancy, MD and director of AHRQ answered questions for the community centered around the consumer in health care. What I may not have mentioned yesterday is that some of the answers to the questions inherently involve technology such as internet education, medical device electronic reporting & monitoring and basic access to technologies in everyday use.

The second question asked of Dr. Clancy was:

Q: You spoke at a health literacy conference in September where you said that 75 percent of medical diagnoses are based “on the story, never mind the tests.” What did you mean by that, and why is it so?

Clancy’s response of  “There are a number of studies that confirm that history – the patient’s story – is the most important factor in accurate diagnosis 75 to 80 percent of the time” is one that I agree with whole heartedly. Tests tell facts. Facts make up a scientific picture. And anyone who watches Bones on TV knows that these do not make up the whole of the problem that a patient may present with! Family and social histories play a major role in our health. Genetically we may have probable conditions that will “pop up” as we age – such as my predisposition for familial tremors. I have friends that have been tested for the probability of breast cancer and thus chose to have mastectomy as a preventative measure. These are not easy decisions to make or deal with.

What I am leading to is the reason, the compelling need, for patients to communicate with their clinicians (again it is not only physicians that we as patients talk to) their stories outside of “my stomach has been hurting me” or such symptoms. In turn, the clinicians have a responsibility to pay attention to the stories, listen, and ask questions that may lead to more pertinent information. When we get back to the compassion and humanity in health care we will be much more able to treat the patient as a whole – not as a reactive symptom presenter. And just FYI to the clinicians – making me feel guilty about tests that I haven’t had done and need to is not going to make me run out and do them. Maybe you should ask me why I am resistant? Then you can help me deal with that part of the issue.

What has/have your experience(s) been in communicating with your clinician(s)?

AHRQ and the health of Americans: part 1

This article that came out this morning in the Public Health Newswire is just packed full of stuff to talk about with you!! I’m doing a happy dance right now!! I’m going to take it a question at a time because I have so much to comment and I want to give you time to think and respond.

The first question that they ask Carolyn Clancy, MD and director of AHRQ (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality – I’ve mentioned them before) is :

Q: AHRQ aims to improve health care services for all Americans. What role does communication play in helping the agency achieve its goal? in which she responds “The main “currency” of health care is communication – and information.” Yes, finally!!! We are admitting that the patients exist as living speaking being that can tell you what is going on if you just TALK to them! They aren’t just lab test 010101. Clancy even points to the AHRQ campaign Questions Are the Answer campaign. It give you good points to remember when dealing with your care with a clinician. The campaign provides 10 questions that you should know to ask your clinician. (I am purposely using the word clinician here because often you don’t just see a doctor but perhaps a nurse practitioner or a physicians assistant.) It also breaks down what you should expect or be prepared for in the different phases of this care cycle – before, during and after your appointment. There is an interactive build your own questions that I just adore! It helps select questions, then helps you prioritize them and then (!!!!) it puts it into a printable format with space to write the answers and notes that you can take with you to the clinicians!

Overall, don’t let the visit intimidate you. Prepare for it. YOU are the customer. YOUR life is the one being given the focus and attention. This especially applies if you are taking a child to see a clinician. And now, due to my own circumstances I am aware, it is often an elderly parent that needs to have this same preparation for an appointment by the caregiver or family member.


Stay tuned for the next segment!


Principles for health information exchange

Found via AHRQ (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality), this Markle presentationn gives some quick information on the view of the public and the clinical providers (physicians) as to the principles for personal health information protection.

The poll shows opinions that are very close. What I find interesting is that the public finds the sharing of information less important than the physicians. Personally, I find this to be very important. With my own health care complicated and my experience with my father’s extremely complicated health it would be ideal for the flow of information to be more streamlined. While it is important to verify information at each visit to confirm any changes, it would be wonderful when you see a new doctor or specialist for them to have your basic health information and history. In emergencies this information could be vital in the case of unconsciousness or any inability to respond.

Another point that I found interesting is the lesser importance to physicians for measuring the progress on healthcare quality and safety. With so many of these measures now tied to dollars it would make sense for them to be more interested. In addition, I would like to know how my healthcare or my family’s healthcare compares to the average – of course, we would all like our healthcare to be above the average.

The AHRQ website is full of information – both for the patient and for the general healthcare community.

Health IT for children toolbox

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) (a division of the US Department of Health and Human Services) has released a toolbox for Health IT for children.

It has some good information/suggestions and overviews.

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