Web site helps ID bioterror agents

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A new web site funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) in Rockville, MD, is designed to teach physicians and nurses how to diagnose and treat rare infections and exposures to bioterrorist agents. Designed by researchers in the Center for Disaster Preparedness at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) under contract from AHRQ, the site is the first of its kind to offer free continuing education credits in bioterrorism preparedness to clinicians. It currently offers five on-line courses through the UAB Office of Continuing Medical Education for emergency department clinicians, including physicians, nurses, radiologists, pathologists, and infection control practitioners. The web site address is www.bioterrorism.uab.edu.

"This web site is an important new tool to help doctors and nurses identify rare infections that also could be potential bioterrorist threats," says AHRQ director John M. Eisenberg, MD. "The evidence-based information will help frontline clinicians in our nation’s hospitals be better prepared in the event of another bioterrorist event."


New study: Hospitalists help reduce costs, LOS

A new study from the Journal of the American Medical Association contends that the use of hospitalists in acute care facilities helps "improve inpatient efficiency without harmful effects on quality or patient satisfaction."1

The report examined data from studies conducted between 1996 and September 2001 that compared hospitalist care with a control group in terms of resource use and other factors. According to the report, "most studies found that implementation of hospitalist programs was associated with significant reductions in resource use, usually measured as hospital costs (average decrease, 13.4%) or average length of stay (average decrease 16.6%)." Some of the studies also found improved clinical outcomes as well, but the researchers noted that "these results were inconsistent."

Reference

Wachter RM, Goldman L, The hospitalist movement 5 years later. JAMA, 2002; 287:487-494.