Thursday, May 29, 2008

AHRQ Publishes Handbook

Nurses play a vital role in improving the safety and quality of patient care and need to know what proven techniques and interventions can be used to enhance patient outcomes. To address this need, AHRQ with additional funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation just published a comprehensive 1,400 page handbook for nurses to address these issues.

The publication “AHRQ Patient Safety and Quality: An Evidence-Based Handbook for Nurses” contains peer-reviewed discussions and reviews a wide range of issues and literature regarding patient safety and quality healthcare. Owing to the complex nature of healthcare, the handbook provides insight into the multiple factors that determine the quality and safety of healthcare as well as patient, nurse, and systems outcomes.

The publication examines the state of the science behind quality and safety concepts and challenges the reader to not only use evidence to change practices but also to actively engage in developing the evidence base to address critical knowledge gaps.

Experts in the field reviewed the literature and grouped the contributions into sections on:

  • Patient safety and quality
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Patient centered care
  • Working conditions
  • Work environment
  • Critical opportunities for patient safety and quality
  • Tools

Chapter 48 on Patient Safety, Telenursing, and Telehealth authored by Loretta Schlachta-Fairchild, Victoria Elfrink, and Andrea Deickman, contains evidence-based review and recommendations for the use of telehealth and telenursing as tools for patient safety.

The chapter discusses several themes on diagnosis and teleconsultation, monitoring and surveillance, and clinical and health services outcomes. The chapter also suggests that infrared technology offers perhaps the most continuous method of telehealth monitoring equipment. Infrared scanners are effective in reporting deviations from a daily routine and can monitor elderly or dependent patients from a remote location. Safety of the patient can be assessed without the patient purposely getting in front of a camera or logging on to speak to a nurse.

Chapter 48 is available at

The complete handbook is available at http://www/ The handbook can also be ordered on a single CD-ROM (AHRQ Publication No. 08-0043-CD) or as a set of three printed volumes.

For more information, email Ronda Hughes PhD, Editor of the Handbook at