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Issue:May 24, 2011
From the desk of our CEO Kris Mastrangelo:     


AHRQ Seeks Comment on Key Questions Related

to Pressure Ulcer Research


According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), "(c)omparative effectiveness research is designed to inform health-care decisions by providing evidence on the effectiveness, benefits, and harms of different treatment options." Comparative effectiveness research allows the consumer to make an educated choice as to what is the best treatment. Consider an analogy: if a consumer wanted to choose a hotel or restaurant, he or she has various sources that offer recommendations and ratings. This type of information rarely exists related to healthcare treatments. AHRQ seeks to address this with comparative analysis research. AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program encourages public participation in its research projects; two current projects pertain to pressure ulcer prevention and care and are currently available on-line (at the following link: http://effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/index.cfm/research-available-for-comment/). 


AHRQ is seeking comment on a few key questions for each of the projects. These key questions will guide researchers as they will be what questions the researchers aim to answer. According to AHRQ, "public comment on these questions helps the researchers and experts think about what is most important to ask so that the research is as useful as possible."


In the first study titled "Pressure Ulcer Treatment Strategies: A Comparative Effectiveness Review", the following question is proposed: "In adults with pressure ulcers, what is the comparative effectiveness of treatment strategies for improved health outcomes such as complete wound healing, healing time, reduced wound surface area, pain, and prevention of serious complications of infection?" Along with this question, there are several additional proposed questions which AHRQ is seeking comment on including whether patient characteristics, features of the pressure ulcer, the healthcare setting itself and/or the features (e.g., staffing ratios, staff training, wound care teams, etc.) impact the comparative effectiveness of treatments. Next, AHRQ seeks to determine what the comparative harms of treatments for pressure ulcers are and if the additional points listed above impact the comparative harms.


"Pressure Ulcer Risk Assessment and Prevention: A Comparative Effectiveness Review" is the second study that is listed. The key questions on which AHRQ is seeking comment include those that address whether any risk assessment tool effects a reduction in incidence and/or severity of pressure ulcers (as compared with options for determining preventative strategies) and how the assessment tools compare to each other. Additionally, the key questions address how the comparative effectiveness and comparative harms of preventive interventions differs according to certain variables, including setting and patient characteristics, among others. 


The comment periods for these studies' key questions last until June 9th; interested providers can find more details at the above noted Web site. 

Article contributed by: Jennifer Pettis, RN, WCC, RAC-MT

Director of Program Development for Harmony Healthcare 


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