The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research has commissioned six new Patient Outcomes Research Teams to further determine the evidence or lack of evidence to support many current clinical practices. The first wave of PORT studies is finishing up. The next wave, called PORT-II, will use AHCPR grant money to:
*Determine the outcomes and cost-effectiveness of three responses to breast cancer in the elderly: modified radical mastectomy, and breast-conserving surgery with and without radiotherapy.
*Help physicians decide how best to screen and treat patients at risk for sudden cardiac death. Identifying irregular heartbeat as a strong risk factor, the team will document the effectiveness of different patient-management strategies, including implantable defibrillators, on a patient's quality of life, ability to function, healthcare cost and odds of death.
*Determine the value of medical testing before cataract surgery. Lab tests, X-rays and electrocardiograms are routinely ordered at a cost of $250 million a year, but the importance of these tests hasn't been shown, according to the agency.
*Define patterns of diagnosis and treatment for prostate disease, including benign enlargement and localized cancer. The study aims to better define the effectiveness of aggressive treatment such as prostate removal or radiation therapy and evaluate alternative treatments.
*Evaluate factors that influence dialysis decisions for patients with end-stage renal disease.
*Evaluate the safety and effectiveness of homemade cereal-based oral rehydration solutions as an economical alternative to commercial treatments for potentially fatal diarrheal dehydration among small children.
Source: Agency for Health Care Policy and Research