The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is one of twelve agencies within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Its mission is to improve the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care for all Americans. AHRQ supports research that helps people make more informed health care decisions and improves the quality of health care services.
What other types of work does AHRQ do? I thought they only focused on quality and patient safety.
You may know the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality for its safety and quality programs, but did you know they also have a program dedicated to turning comparative effectiveness research into treatment decisionmaking tools for clinicians like you?
AHRQ's Effective Health Care (EHC) Program works with researchers, research centers, and academic organizations to produce comparative effectiveness research and translate findings into useful formats for a variety of audiences. The Program provides evidence-based tools for clinicians, patients, and caregivers to aid in shared decisionmaking, using information on the benefits, risks, and possible side effects of treatments to guide patients to the best treatment options for their needs.
What is comparative effectiveness research?
Comparative effectiveness research, a type of patient-centered outcomes research, provides information that helps clinicians and patients work together to treat an illness or condition. By comparing drugs, medical devices, tests, surgeries, or ways to deliver health care, patients, and their families can make more informed choices.
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- Findings are descriptive, not prescriptive, and are intended as tools for informed decisionmaking, not recommendations.
- Findings highlight current evidence about effectiveness, risks, and side effects.
- The comparative effectiveness research reports and products identify areas of clinical uncertainty. The summaries for clinicians and patients efficiently and clearly present evidence and help clinicians and patients share decisionmaking.
How do you think these tools will be useful to you and your patients? What types of topics would you like to see the Agency explore? What tools do you think would help support shared decisionmaking discussions with your patients?