Organizations across the United States have joined the Effective Health Care Program's National Partnership Network to help create awareness about patient-centered outcomes research and increase access to evidence-based information. As a part of the network, partners support comparative effectiveness research and access to evidence-based information by reaching out to their members through a variety of activities.
Activities and events showcasing Effective Health Care Program partners in action are featured below. Take time to explore the ways organizations across the country are committed to improving the quality of health care through informed decisionmaking. The stories below feature some of the important work being done by a selection of the Effective Health Care Program partners and is updated regularly. To see a full list of participating partners, please visit the partners page.
The Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) is an association of pharmacists and other health care practitioners who use managed care tools and techniques in pharmacy practice. AMCP provided comparative effectiveness research summaries and resources through its eDossier System, a Web-based platform that allows health care decisionmakers to easily access research to make informed, evidence-based decisions about health care, including formulary development and drug coverage decisions. It combines the familiar structure of paper-based dossiers with Web technologies that are flexible and interactive.
The eDossier System is available free to health care professionals and decisionmakers. Special electronic versions of AHRQ's comparative effectiveness research reviews allow eDossier users to interact with the AHRQ reports by highlighting key excerpts or exporting charts, tables, and graphics into Microsoft® PowerPoint or Word.
AMCP and AHRQ will continue to collaborate to ensure that relevant and recent data is available. For more information, visit www.amcp.edossiers.com.
One of the largest regional medical associations in the United States, the Academy of Medicine of Cleveland & Northern Ohio (AMCNO) created a partnership Web page to connect its 5,000 physician members to evidence-based Effective Health Care (EHC) Program resources. The page features links to the Program's home page, clinician and consumer research summaries, the "Explore Your Treatment Options" campaign home page, continuing medical education/continuing education (CME/CE) modules, and the latest resources on the treatment and prevention of C. difficile.
"AMCNO believes that patient-centered care, and hence comparative effectiveness research, is very important," said James Sechler, M.D., the academy's president." It is critical for physicians to incorporate patient centricity in their practice. They can use EHC Program resources to help achieve improved outcomes, which is the highest priority to our physicians and clearly to the patients they serve.”
The Web page was developed to provide important information to AMCNO's members in an organized approach. To date, the association has promoted the page and AMCNO's partnership with AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program through email blasts and features in its publications. Dr. Sechler explained, "We believe that AHRQ is a leader in unifying an approach to patient-centered quality care in the United States. As such, AMCNO is proud to be a partner in this project in an effort to help physicians and patients make more informed decisions and to improve the quality of health care services."
One of the nation’s largest medical organizations, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) is helping to increase awareness about tools to support evidence-based practice and shared decisionmaking among physicians, patients, and caregivers. AFFP features the library of resources available through AHRQ’s Effective Health Care (EHC) Program in its AAFP News Now newsletter and Web site. The library of resources covers topics including cancer, chronic disease, diabetes, heart disease, mental health, and women’s health.
The library contains tools for both health care professionals and consumers. It provides professionals quick access to research reports and reviews, clinician research summaries, slide libraries, and more. Patients and caregivers find treatment summaries to explore treatment options and better prepare for medical appointments. Available in both English and Spanish, these summaries provide an overview of each health condition, key considerations, comparisons of different treatment options, and key questions to ask.
According to the AAFP News Now article, “Gaining access to reliable information on the comparative effectiveness of various health care interventions just got easier, thanks to AHRQ.”
Members of an AHRQ-sponsored pharmacy workgroup presented evidenced-based research and tools from the Effective Health Care (EHC) Program at the annual meeting of national partnership network member American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) in July. The presentation focused on ways for pharmacy faculty to incorporate the tools into their work and identified opportunities for attendees to engage with the EHC Program.
The AHRQ pharmacy workgroup includes community and hospital pharmacists, researchers, and academicians who work with the Agency to reach out to pharmacy organizations. Workgroup members and members of AACP, Gary Matzke, Pharm.D., and Leigh Ann Ross, Pharm.D., shared how pharmacy faculty can utilize the array of EHC Program resources in their research and education. Gary Matzke is a professor and associate dean for clinical research and public policy at the School of Pharmacy, Virginia Commonwealth University. Leah Ann Ross is an associate dean for clinical affairs, chair and associate professor of pharmacy practice at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy,
"We were excited to share AHRQ's resources with pharmacy educators and discuss ways they can be used to engage with students," said Gary Matzke, Pharm.D. "AACP members understand how important it is to help future pharmacy leaders understand and use CER to inform their work."
A guest post by AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D., on the American College of Cardiology’s (ACC) blog, ACC in Touch , highlights how patient-centered outcomes research and evidence-based information from AHRQ’s Effective Health Care Program can help doctors and patients work together to decide on the best treatment options.
As part of an ongoing partnership, the ACC and AHRQ’s Effective Health Care Program work together to help clinicians engage their patients in health care decisionmaking to improve their care experiences and achieve the best possible outcomes.
In addition, the ACC co-branded the Effective Health Care Program’s recently released consumer publication Measuring Your Blood Pressure at Home: A Review of the Research for Adults. Using plain language, the booklet describes the basics of blood pressure and the risks of hypertension while outlining information about home blood pressure monitors. A list of questions that patients can ask their health care team is also included. The ACC distributed 500 copies of the free patient resource at its 2012 annual ACC Scientific Session & Expo in Chicago.
"Patient-centered care is based on empowering patients to become active participants in their own health," explained Mary N. Walsh, M.D., F.A.C.C., chair of ACC’s Patient-Centered Care Committee. "AHRQ’s materials encourage patients to understand their treatment options and make informed decisions regarding their care."
Recognizing that cardiovascular diseases and stroke are the leading causes of death in Puerto Rico, the Greater Southeast Affiliate of the American Heart Association (AHA) has joined forces with AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program to build healthier lives in the island's communities.
"AHRQ is a leader in research, and the Spanish-language materials and tools offered by the EHC Program complement what we do," said Mary Robichaux, AHA's Greater Southeast Affiliate's vice president of quality improvement initiative. "Our goals in the greater southeast region are by 2020 to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent."
To kick off the partnership, AHA invited AHRQ to present at its recent "Get with the Guidelines" symposium in San Juan, where AHRQ introduced EHC Program resources to Puerto Rico's health and hospital systems, as well as community leaders. Spanish-language clinician and consumer research summaries that address cardiovascular diseases, as well as links to relevant CME/CE modules, were shared with symposium participants. Leadership of Puerto Rico's largest hospital system, Hospital HIMA (Hospital Interamericano de Medicina Avanzada) San Pablo, was among the enthusiastic participants.
"We appreciate the range of materials offered by the EHC Program," said Dianne Rosario, Hospital HIMA San Pablo's director of corporate compliance and quality. "Because so many Puerto Ricans suffer from heart conditions, having evidence-based resources in Spanish to help them discuss treatment decisions with their doctors is critical."
National partner Auburn University, Harrison School of Pharmacy shared AHRQ's Effective Health Care (EHC) Program resources as tools to help support clinical decisionmaking to more than 450 pharmacy students during their professional seminar series or grand rounds. The presenter, Richard Hansen, Ph.D., department head for Pharmacy Care Systems educated the group on comparative effectiveness research (CER) and its importance to professional and academic realms of the pharmacy arena.
The professional seminar series at the Harrison School of Pharmacy includes multidisciplinary, teaching-oriented presentations focused on education and professional development, practice and research issues, and patient care needs. Lee Evans, Pharm.D., dean of the Harrison School of Pharmacy noted the importance of providing future pharmacy leaders with the latest comparative effectiveness research and supporting patient engagement and education on treatment options. “Auburn’s students will be able to leverage EHC Program materials to stay updated on the latest comparative effectiveness research and help patients better understand their treatment options,” said Evans.
Working with the University of Findlay College of Pharmacy, a national partner, the Effective Health Care (EHC) Program engaged pharmacy experts at the Cardinal Health Annual Pharmacy Business Conference in Orlando this summer. The Cardinal Health meeting convenes 7,000 pharmacy leaders and businesses from around the country. Program representatives provided an overview of the Program, specifically focusing on how pharmacists can leverage the Program's resources to inform evidence-based decisionmaking and stay updated on the latest research on treatment options.
This diverse group of leaders representing pharmacists practicing in community pharmacies, long-term care, compounding pharmacies, and statewide health information exchanges (HIE) was engaged and interested in the free tools for pharmacists and their patients. Four participants have already signed up to join the EHC Program national network of partners.
"This is important work being done by AHRQ and the EHC Program," said Joel Hadfield, R.Ph., BCPS, chief executive officer of Hadfield Consulting. "I am excited to understand how EHC Program materials could be incorporated into the State and regional HIE efforts to ensure these important materials are in decisionmakers' hands."
At its Health Action 2012 conference in Washington, DC, consumer health advocacy organization Families USA shared Effective Health Care Program materials with consumer advocates, policymakers, and researchers seeking to exchange knowledge and resources to advance health care quality for all Americans.
"Passage of the Affordable Care Act gives an estimated 32 million uninsured Americans access to care. Now we need to give them the tools to successfully engage in that care," said Ron Pollack, executive director and vice president of Families USA. "Sharing the Effective Health Care Program resources helps our constituents understand they have treatment options and what those options actually mean for them and their providers."
Families USA is a national nonprofit, nonpartisan organization. A voice for consumers since 1982, they conduct consumer health care information campaigns that reach millions and serve as a consumer clearinghouse for information about the health care system. As a member of the Effective Health Care Program’s National Partnership Network of more than 250 organizations, Families USA helps consumer health advocates and consumers explore the value of patient-centered outcomes research.
To improve the health of residents in Hawaii, including the State's most underserved populations and communities, the Hawaii Primary Care Association (HPCA) is partnering with AHRQ. HPCA represents more than 14 community health centers, which collectively serve approximately 130,000 residents annually. Through its participation in initiatives—such as AHRQ's National Partnership Network—HPCA delivers valuable technical support, project management, and public advocacy on behalf of these community health centers.
AHRQ's evidence-based EHC Program resources resonated with HPCA leadership. "We immediately found value in the Effective Health Care Program materials and tools, which will enhance the association's existing projects to provide direct technical assistance to community health center staff," said Cristina Vocalan, HPCA's quality improvement director. "Many of the research summaries address priority conditions, including type 2 diabetes and depression, which are especially important to HPCA's patient-centered medical home." The organization plans to provide access to EHC Program resources to all of its members through the HPCA Web site.
The partnership between the Effective Health Care Program and Illinois Primary Health Care Association (IPHCA) provides evidence-based resources to support shared decisionmaking between patients and clinicians at the more than 450 community health center sites represented by the Association. As Illinois’ sole primary care association, IPHCA’s mission is to improve the health status of medically underserved populations by fostering the provision of high-quality, comprehensive health care that is accessible, coordinated, community-directed, culturally sensitive, and linguistically competent.
Three articles published in the organization’s official newsletter, Health Source, presented IPHCA members with an overview of how to use comparative effectiveness research in their practices and an in-depth look at the program’s available diabetes and hypertension resources. For example, Treating High Cholesterol: A Guide for Adults was featured in the "Clinicians’ Corner" section (page 8) of the March 2012 issue. The article provided a brief description of the clinician and consumer research summaries and highlighted other relevant resources, such as continuing education modules for clinicians. Additionally, the organization’s Medical Directors Roundtable, which convenes medical directors throughout the State to discuss pertinent health problems and solutions, discussed the Effective Health Care Program during its recent meeting and supported using the resources to educate clinicians and patients alike throughout the State.
"We are using the Effective Health Care Program materials to educate clinical leaders at member health centers. In turn, they will ensure that evidence-based information is used for clinical decision making," said Rajesh Parikh, M.D., vice president of clinical services and workforce development. "It is our hope that they will also encourage patients to review AHRQ’s information. AHRQ is a credible organization that providers respect and trust."
One of AHRQ's pivotal health system partners has been the Long Island Health Network (LIHN). A network of 10 hospitals, 4 skilled nursing groups, and 4 home care organizations in Long Island, NY, LIHN serves more than one million patients and is committed to quality, efficiency, and expanding health care excellence.
Nurse educators from Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center, part of the LIHN, have incorporated Effective Health Care Program materials into patient teaching. "We are very happy with the patient-focused format," one nurse said.
"AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program is an excellent complement to Long Island Health Network's clinical integration program," said Kathleen Masiulis, the senior vice president of LIHN. "LIHN is committed to educating our patients and their families to make ‘best treatment decisions.' With both programs aligned to provide access to patient-centered outcomes research, the AHRQ and LIHN efforts clearly benefit the communities we serve."
Through this partnership, AHRQ and LIHN have identified numerous opportunities to expand and encourage the use of patient-centered outcomes research in the clinical setting. The network is using AHRQ's patient and clinician research summaries at each of its 10 hospitals, and AHRQ representatives attended LIHN's annual symposium to introduce clinical and educational staff to the many Effective Health Care Program resources.
The Midwest Business Group on Health (MBGH), one of the country's largest business health coalitions, posted several Effective Health Care Program patient research summaries online as part of a community health awareness campaign. The Take Control of Your Health campaign helps consumers identify, manage, and address key health issues and conditions by offering information and tools for patients, employer worksite programs, and medical offices. Cosponsored by the Chicago CBS-affiliate television station (WBBM, Channel 2), the Northeast Business Group on Health, and the New York CBS-affiliate television station (CBS2 New York), the campaign’s Web site features Effective Health Care Program materials on diabetes , breast cancer, prostate cancer, and head and neck cancer , as well as television vignettes, educational programs, and local efforts led by MBGH.
"With employees spending 1,000 to 2,000 hours a year at their workplace, there are tremendous opportunities for employers to provide workers with education, motivation, and tools for improved health," said Larry Boress, MBGH president and chief executive officer. "AHRQ’s Effective Health Care Program provides easy-to-understand materials employers can use to help people manage their health."
MBGH has been active in finding ways to engage employees' interest in their own health for more than a decade. The Group is comprised of more than 110 members (including Boeing, Johnson & Johnson, Abbott Laboratories, the city of Chicago, Ace Hardware, OfficeMax, SC Johnson, Kraft, and Ford Motor Company).
The Missouri Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons (MAOPS) Web site now features a Web page dedicated to explaining the benefits of comparative effectiveness research. The page provides—for its 1,000 professional members and 1,700 student members across the State—an overview of the EHC Program and how its research benefits patients and physicians, as well as a list of the Program's 14 priority health conditions. Brief descriptions of the clinician and consumer research summaries, CME/CE modules, slide library, and Webcasts help MAOPS's members understand the resources that are available.
"Part of our vision is to be the organization that osteopathic physicians think of first for information and education," said Brian Bowles, MAOPS's executive director, "and being able to offer such a robust library of evidence-based information and tools in one place helps us achieve that."
MAOPS's mission is to preserve and advance the distinct philosophy and practice of osteopathic medicine in the state of Missouri and to serve and advocate for the profession in its quest to provide the highest quality of care. "We take pride in pioneering the American Osteopathic Association's national efforts at the State level. Partnering with AHRQ exemplifies our proven track record of 'getting things done' for our members and all Missourians."
As a part of its mission to enable all Missourians to make the choices that allow them to live longer, healthier lives, the Missouri Health Equity Collaborative (MOHEC) is partnering with AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program to promote materials that encourage people to explore their health care treatment options. The collaborative, part of the University of Missouri's Center for Health Policy, represents 282 organizations dedicated to helping individuals and communities access quality health care regardless of income, education, or ethnic background. MOHEC and AHRQ have partnered to identify ways to spread the word across Missouri about the Effective Health Care Program's growing library of free health resources.
"These resources are valuable because they help people communicate better with their health care providers," said Nancie McAnaugh, M.S.W., project director at the Center for Health Policy. "They provide people with the confidence needed to ask questions and participate in health care decisionmaking."
MOHEC is encouraging Missouri health organizations to take advantage of the many evidence-based resources for patients on topics such as diabetes, heart health, mental health, and cancer. Along with other communication vehicles, the organization is using its listserv to share relevant information about the Effective Health Care Program to more than 400 subscribers. Constituents are learning about and becoming involved in the Toma las riendas (Take the Reins) campaign that provides a variety of Spanish-language clinician and patient resources and tools to the State's Hispanic population—a priority audience for both MOHEC and AHRQ. The listserv also featured AHRQ's resources on chronic diseases. AHRQ will participate in the organization's 2012 statewide conference "Healthy Lives, Healthy Communities: Building Health Equity in Missouri One Community at a Time."
MOHEC is also expanding AHRQ's National Partnership Network across Missouri by introducing AHRQ to other interested organizations. When praised for their receptivity and enthusiasm toward the initiative and the potential impact it will have on the lives of Missourians, the MOHEC team members simply say, "That's what we're here for."
The National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) and AHRQ will help chronic disease directors explore the value of patient-centered outcomes research and shared decisionmaking, empowering them to share resources from AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program within their organizations and among colleagues. NACDD helps chronic disease directors and health professionals advocate for prevention policies and programs, share clinical information, and develop partnerships for health promotion. Member organizations specialize in disease and injury prevention; health promotion; long-term care; and specific diseases and conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
"We feel it's important to be part of this effort to provide health professionals and patients with unbiased, evidence-based resources they can work with," said NACDD chief executive officer John Robitscher, M.P.H. "We are in the position to mobilize public health professionals at every level to utilize these resources to reduce chronic disease and their associated risk factors."
Presentations at a recent NACDD board meeting and a meeting of more than 50 State-level public health leaders identified how patient-centered outcomes research can support chronic disease professionals. Working together, AHRQ and NACDD highlighted assembled resources for NACDD members and others interested in chronic diseases.
NACDD has also notified members about opportunities to comment on draft Effective Health Care Program research materials to help AHRQ ensure that research findings and related materials meet the needs of the populations they serve.
Among the most wide-ranging partnerships is the ongoing collaboration between the Effective Health Care Program and the National Association of Free Clinics (NAFC), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the issues and concerns of the Nation's more than 1,200 free clinics. The NAFC's volunteer workforce of doctors, dentists, nurses, therapists, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, technicians, and other health care professionals staff free clinics for uninsured patients across the country.
In the past year, more than 28,000 Effective Health Care Program publications have been distributed at three NAFC "Communities Are Responding Everyday" (C.A.R.E) health clinics in Washington, DC, Charlotte, NC, and New Orleans, LA. Patients and clinicians who attended the events had access to free, unbiased publications that summarize treatment options for health conditions ranging from diabetes to cancer to depression. In addition to providing background on health conditions, the plain-language publications explore the benefits and risks of treatment alternatives.
"Every single clinician who has read the material AHRQ provided to us has said, 'How I can get more?'" said NAFC executive director Nicole Lamoureux. "The information is helping our clinicians understand how to be more responsive to their patients and helping the patients understand their treatment options."
As part of the partnership, AHRQ and the NAFC highlighted Effective Health Care Program tools to clinicians who attended Web conferences in March and December 2011 and at special sessions at the NAFC's 2010 and 2011 annual meetings.
The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) represents the owners, managers, and staff pharmacists of independent community pharmacies in the U.S. In May, NCPA held a Webinar for its members about their partnership with the EHC Program, presented by Commander Sherri Yoder, PharmD, PCPS, AHRQ Indian Health Service liaison. Commander Yoder provided the 42 participants with an overview of the Program and specific examples of how pharmacists can incorporate patient-centered outcomes research and Program materials into their practice. As a followup to the Webinar, NCPA shared clinician summaries and other materials with their 22,000 members. In addition, NCPA members who represent independent pharmacies were invited to join the national partnership network.
To learn about CER for pharmacy practice, please see this article that was highlighted during the Webinar: "Comparative effectiveness research: Relevance and applications to pharmacy," published in the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy.
The National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM), New England Region (NER) featured AHRQ’s Effective Health Care (EHC) Program twice in its blog, the NER'eastah. The blog post introduced the EHC Program and its resources to the chapter’s membership, which is comprised of 16 resource libraries, 391 hospital and academic libraries, and 156 public libraries in the region.
As follow up to the blog posts, NN/LM NER hosted a Web conference on November 14, 2012, for approximately 40 members. AHRQ’s regional representative provided an overview of the clinician research summaries, patient treatment summaries, and the library of continuing education modules. Hospital and university medical librarians from across New England participated. A recording and transcription of the Web conference is available on NN/LM NER’s trainings and education Web page.
“Because they serve health professionals, consumers, and other key stakeholders, including medical librarians, the Effective Health Care Program materials are a great resource to our members,” says Michelle Eberle, NN/LM NER’s consumer health information coordinator. “Additionally, it allows NER to contribute to the overall mission of NN/LM, particularly by ensuring the public has access to information to enable them to make informed decisions about their health.”
Understanding the vital role that pharmacists play in patient care, AHRQ's Effective Health Care (EHC) Program has partnered with more than 20 schools of pharmacy and 5 national associations to integrate comparative effectiveness research into pharmacy school curricula and training programs.
The University of Arizona College of Pharmacy, for example, is using plain-language EHC Program research summaries in educational workshops. Educators also developed a training program to help pharmacy and therapeutics committees include comparative effectiveness research in decisionmaking.
National pharmacy associations, such as the American College of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, are sharing EHC Program resources with their members. AMCP also includes research findings in tools for practicing pharmacists.
Ken Shermock, Pharm.D., Ph.D., director of the Center for Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, is leading efforts at the hospital and the University of Maryland to include information about the importance of comparative effectiveness research and EHC Program materials in pharmacy school curricula, including developing a symposia and certificate program.
Dr. Shermock is a member of an AHRQ-sponsored pharmacy workgroup, which includes community and hospital pharmacists, researchers, and academics that works with the Agency to reach out to pharmacy organizations.
"Comparative effectiveness research answers the questions the way they're supposed to be answered," said Dr. Shermock. "This research gives pharmacists, who are a key part of the medical team, the best type of information to make the best decisions."
Doctor of pharmacy students at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, University of the Sciences, are learning firsthand how effective health research can be incorporated into their future pharmacy practice. Associate professor of pharmacy Vincent Willey, PharmD, vice chair, Department of Pharmacy Practice and Pharmacy Administration, teaches about the importance of using evidence-based comparative effectiveness research (CER) in the required third-year Drug Information and Literature Evaluation course, which recently had 205 students enrolled. In the course, Dr. Willey discusses comparative effectiveness research and provides examples of how students can use CER to answer drug information questions and provide the best evidence-based care for their patients.
Dr. Willey helps his students leverage the AHRQ Effective Health Care Program and resources in his class and performs a “live” review of content on the EHC Program site. He also encourages students to use the site in preparation for their seminar presentations, during their advanced pharmacy practice experience rotations and after graduating from Philadelphia College of Pharmacy as they become practicing pharmacists.
“I show our students the value of looking at comparative research reviews such as those offered by the AHRQ EHC Program Web site as a good first step,” said Dr. Willey. “If these reviews have already been performed, they can provide more meaning and context for the review of the individual primary articles, and can support better patient care.”
Tennessee residents can now access information comparing health care treatment options while waiting at the doctor's office, in the comfort of their homes, or at their library. Thanks to a partnership between the Tennessee Electronic Library (TEL) and AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program, every Tennessee resident with an Internet connection has access to all of the program's comparative health resources.
The TEL aims to provide convenient and equitable access to library and information resources for Tennessee's citizens to improve the quality of their everyday lives, the depth of their educational experience, and the economic prosperity of their communities. Including a link to the AHRQ resources on the TEL increases patrons' access to evidence-based information about health care treatment options.
"TEL is pleased to offer Tennessee residents access to these AHRQ resources," said Wendy Cornelisen, TEL special projects coordinator. "Objective, reliable information is important to sound health care decisionmaking. These resources complement our goal to provide equal access to information to empower all Tennesseans."
AHRQ's resources are featured on the library's Consumer Health Information Web page, along with a variety of other electronic resources in the TEL database, including magazines, scholarly journals, podcasts, videos, e-books, and test preparation materials. Each month, users perform more than 1.2 million searches via TEL, which is administered by the Tennessee State Library and Archives, a division of the Tennessee Office of the Secretary of State.
As champions for health care quality in Texas, the Texas Association of Healthcare Quality (TAHQ) is a key AHRQ partner for promoting the use of evidence-based research for treatment decisions within the State. TAHQ represents 200 health quality professionals that focus on diverse health care topics, including acute care, managed care, long-term care, community health, and behavioral health.
"Our organization's mission is to promote excellence and professionalism in health care through advancement of theory, policy, and practice of quality," said Leigh Humphrey, M.B.A., past president of TAHQ. "The Effective Health Care Program resources give our members the tools they need to help drive better health outcomes in our individual organizations."
To kick off its partnership, TAHQ distributed free clinician and patient research summaries to its members and invited AHRQ to attend the organization's annual meeting. AHRQ representatives spoke one-on-one with TAHQ members about the initiative and available resources. Shortly after, TAHQ published an article about AHRQ's comparative, evidence-based research in its member newsletter, TAHQ News.
TAHQ is now working with AHRQ to create new educational opportunities for its members to leverage Effective Health Care Program resources through its partnership with AHRQ. Guided by its core values—integrity, stewardship, accountability, commitment, and professionalism—TAHQ believes its membership will benefit significantly from learning how clinicians and patients who make treatment decisions together will improve the overall health care of Texans.
On April 27, the University of California (UC) Center for Health Quality and Innovation held a colloquium of experts focused on improving health care delivery. The Center invited the Effective Health Care Program representatives to present and talk one-on-one with attendees about comparative effectiveness research and how to use research findings when making treatment decisions. The colloquium included more than 200 UC executives, clinicians, and research fellows, as well as representatives from California Health Care Safety Net Institute and Kaiser Permanente.
Prior to the colloquium, Dr. Paul Shekelle, director of the Effective Health Care Program’s Southern California Evidence-Based Practice Center, presented an overview of the Effective Health Care Program to address the Center’s 22-member Operations Committee. Committee members include UC deans of medicine, public health, and nursing, as well as chief medical officers, chief nursing officers, health policy researchers, and department chairs from all of the UC hospitals.
Part of UC Health, the Center was launched in October 2010 to promote, support, and nurture innovations at UC medical center campuses and hospitals to improve quality, access, and value in the delivery of health care.
"Having Dr. Shekelle and the Effective Health Care Program so well represented at our Colloquium was a great benefit for the UC Health team," said Terry Leach, executive director of the Center for Health Quality and Innovation. "UC is committed to delivering quality, credible information to our clinicians and patients and we demonstrated this promise by featuring the leading thinkers and latest comparative research at the Colloquium."
Utah health professionals are connecting with friends and colleagues on Facebook and Twitter, following various public figures and topics, and commenting on subjects of interest. In addition, they are keeping up with the latest evidence-based comparative research that enables them to discuss treatment options with patients. Based in Midvale, UT, the Utah Academy of Family Physicians (UAFP) is using social media to share information about AHRQ and Effective Health Care Program materials and encourage its members to use the evidence-based materials when discussing treatment options with patients. UAFP is posting Facebook messages, tweets, and blog posts to help its nearly 800 physician, student, and resident members statewide learn about patient-centered outcomes research and the range of educational resources AHRQ offers.
"We are beginning to see more and more of our physician members utilizing our social media tools. Our physicians want to know about changes and updates to their profession now. The social media tools the Academy offers allow us to give our members the information they are looking for immediately," said Wayne Jones, UAFP executive director. We are excited that we have tools to allow our Academy members to receive this information and that we have great information provided by partners like AHRQ."
Guided by five organizational principles—organizational excellence, relationships, advocacy, member support, and promotion—UAFP's outreach enables clinicians and patients to discover AHRQ's important initiative and easily share it with others, an effort certainly worth liking.
Representing the second-most populated county in North Carolina, Wake County Human Services (WCHS) is championing the Effective Health Care (EHC) Program's efforts as both a partner and a leader in its community. WCHS's mission is to respond to the public health, behavioral health, and economic and social needs of Wake County residents by coordinating and sustaining efforts that ensure safety, equity, access and well-being for all. Not only is WCHS using EHC Program resources to achieve its mission, it is also playing a significant role in recruiting other organizations in the county to partner with the Program to achieve their health improvement goals.
In April, EHC Program representatives presented at two meetings in the Raleigh area that WCHS helped coordinate. Attendees—who represented hospitals and health systems, academic institutions, fraternities and sororities, faith-based and other organizations—learned about comparative effectiveness research, EHC Program resources, and how to use both to support shared decisionmaking. As a result, six new partnerships were established. Additionally, WakeMed Health and Hospitals distributed 1,000 copies of the Treating High Cholesterol consumer research summary at a community-wide health fair.
"The EHC Program resources complement our Department's work and address health issues that have a significant impact on our population," said Ramon Rojano, WCHS director. "We really wanted to share these resources with our community partners to have an even greater impact in the community. Not only did we generate new partnerships, the meeting model also provided an opportunity for organizations to hear each other's perspectives about using the resources and to network with each other."
Recognizing that African American women are at high risk for diabetes and heart disease, the Effective Health Care (EHC) Program worked with West End Medical Centers to distribute 6,000 EHC Program resources to 2,000 attendees at the 62nd Women's International Convention of the Church of God In Christ (COGIC) in Atlanta in May. Each attendee received consumer research summaries about treatment options for diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. An insert provided additional information about other AHRQ resources to help inform treatment decisions and encourage participants to share them with family members and friends.
"AHRQ's EHC Program resources were selected because they are based on best practices," said Theresa Jacobs, M.D., vice president and chief medical officer of West End Medical Center. "They are easy for patients and families to read and include relevant topics."
Providing comprehensive health care to medically under-served populations of metropolitan Atlanta and surrounding communities since 1976, West End Medical Centers is a nonprofit Federally Qualified Community Health Center. Its mission is to provide the highest quality comprehensive health care services which are culturally and linguistically appropriate, accessible, and affordable, focusing on prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment to residents and at-risk populations in the West End and Greater Atlanta areas.
The Wyoming Medical Society recently promoted the Effective Health Care Program to its Twitter followers and Facebook friends. Relatively new to the social media landscape, the organization shared a link to the clinician research summary: Insulin Delivery and Glucose Monitoring Methods for Diabetes Mellitus: Comparative Effectiveness. Shortly after, the society encouraged followers/friends to visit the Library of Resources for Mental Health Web page on the AHRQ site.
Founded in 1903 to provide representation, advocacy, and service to Wyoming physicians, the Wyoming Medical Society aims to anticipate and swiftly respond to the changing health care environment, including how relevant information is communicated. This includes education and training resources for physicians and physician assistants, which is why the EHC Program resources were received so resoundingly well by the organization.
"The Wyoming Medical Society is happy to partner with AHRQ to provide valuable information to our members,” said Sheila Bush, the organization’s executive director. “We are always searching for new outlets and information to share with members. AHRQ gives us the easy-to-share information that we need, via our newsletter, magazine, and social media.”