The extraordinary pace of medical innovation over the past few decades has created unprecedented opportunities to improve health care and health outcomes. To realize these opportunities, however, everyone with a stake in the health system-from patients to clinicians to policymakers-needs to have accurate, reliable, and accessible information on the diagnostic and treatment choices confronting them.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is internationally recognized as a source of independent, high-quality scientific information, and as a leader in evidence-based medicine. In 2005 AHRQ launched the Effective Health Care (EHC) Program, a ground-breaking Federal initiative that compares the effectiveness of different health care interventions and services and translates research findings into practical decisionmaking guides for consumers, clinicians, and policymakers.
One of the unique aspects of the EHC Program is the involvement of a diverse range of stakeholders throughout the research process to ensure relevancy and transparency. Collaboration with a broad range of health care stakeholders is a cornerstone of AHRQ's research. AHRQ firmly believes that involving all stakeholders in the research enterprise from the beginning improves the end product and facilitates the diffusion and implementation of the findings by ensuring that the research findings reflect the various needs of all diverse users, are relevant to their unique challenges, and are applicable in real-world situations.
AHRQ defines a "stakeholder" as persons or groups who have a vested interest in the clinical decision and the evidence that supports that decision. Each has a unique and valuable perspective. EHC program stakeholders include:
- Patients, caregivers, and patient advocacy organizations.
- Clinicians and their professional associations.
- Institutional health care providers, such as hospital systems and medical clinics.
- Government agencies.
- Purchasers and payers, such as employers and public and private insurers.
- Health care industry representatives.
- Health care policymakers at the Federal, State and local levels.
- Health care researchers and research institutions.
This Guide is intended to facilitate stakeholder involvement in AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program research. The Guide reviews the purpose and the structure of AHRQ's EHC Program, outlines EHC Program activities, and describes opportunities for participation, which include nominating topics, refining key research questions, participating on technical expert panels to provide advice on research methodology, identifying priorities for future research, commenting on draft reports, helping translate research reports into decisionmaking guides, and dissemination of results. It may also be useful for anyone who is interested in using AHRQ reports and wants a better understanding of the research conducted by the EHC Program.
- Nominate research topics.
- Comment on draft key questions before research has begun.
- Provide expert input or scientific information to inform a report. This includes a patient's experiential expertise.
- Comment on draft Research Reports and Comparative Effectiveness Reviews.
- Provide input on translation products.
- Disseminate research products.
- Participate in a listening session to provide focused comments on issues important to the EHC program, such as research topics, program structure, and scientific methods.
- Participate on the EHC Stakeholder Group to provide different perspectives on the Effective Health Care program.
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