Partners in Action

National Partnership Network

How Partners Use Evidence-Based Resources From the EHC Program

See how organizations across the country are taking action to encourage informed decision making based on evidence to improve the quality of care. The stories below feature work by a selection of the Effective Health Care Program partners and are updated regularly. To see a list of partners, please visit the partners’ page.

Partners in Action:

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Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy

eDossier System provides AHRQ resources

Screen shot of eDossier page that includes AHRQ Comparative Effectiveness Reviews in its Reference Library.

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

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Academy of Medicine of Cleveland and Northern Ohio

Thousands of physicians in Ohio have easy access to evidence-based resources

Screen shot of partnership Web page

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.”

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American Academy of Family Physicians

EHC Program library of resources creates quick access to reliable, evidence-based information

Screen shot of AAFP News Now site highlighting the national partnership network library of resources page, including an image of the page.

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. AAFP 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.”

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American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy

American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy and AHRQ share resources with educators

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 use 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.”

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American College of Cardiology

American College of Cardiology and AHRQ partner to engage patients in care decisions

Screenshot of ACC in Touch blog featuring the guest post from AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D.

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 decision making 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."

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American Heart Association, Greater Southeast Affiliate

AHRQ enhances efforts to improve the health of Puerto Ricans

Get with the Guidelines symposium

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.”

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Auburn University, Harrison School of Pharmacy

Engaging the next generation of pharmacists on the importance of comparative effectiveness research in health care through grand rounds

National partner Auburn University, Harrison School of Pharmacy shared AHRQ's Effective Health Care (EHC) Program resources as tools to help support clinical decision making 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.

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Cardinal Health Annual Pharmacy Business Conference

Pharmacists engage in EHC Program resources and partnership opportunities at national conference

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 decision making 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.”

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Connecticut League for Nursing

Co-branded EHC Program resources support nurses in academic and clinical settings

Screen shots of homepage and dedicated Web page  Screen shots of homepage and dedicated Web page

Based in Meriden, the Connecticut League for Nursing (CLN) is promoting excellence in nursing education to build a strong and diverse workforce to advance the nation’s health. In 2013, AHRQ and CLN partnered to help promote and distribute treatment summaries for common health conditions to educate nursing and allied health students and support practicing nurses in all health care settings. CLN added its logo to 38 summaries, including 19 for clinicians and 19 for consumers. These summaries cover a variety of health conditions ranging from type 2 diabetes to treatment resistant depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

"Partnering with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality allows us to provide the nursing community with valuable, evidence-based resources to support best practice research with students or within the clinical setting for patient education,” said Marcia Proto, CLN’s executive director. “Cobranding the research summaries visually demonstrates that we champion AHRQ’s efforts through the Effective Health Care Program.”

These resources are featured on the organization’s homepage, which directs members and the public to a dedicated Web page that lists and links to each publication, which can be downloaded directly from the page.

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District of Columbia Nurses Association

AHRQ’s evidence-based resources assist nurses in the nation’s capital

Screen shots of EHC Program link on DCNA homepage

The District of Columbia Nurses Association (DCNA) now provides its membership of over 2,000 nurses access to AHRQ’s Effective Health Care (EHC) Program resources. DCNA posted a link to the EHC Program Web site on the home page—and every page—of its Web site, www.dcna.org. The link gives members easy access to the EHC Program site so they can view and download AHRQ’s clinician research summaries, patient treatment summaries, and other valuable resources.

“As the most active voice for nurses in the District of Columbia, we are always looking for evidence-based resources like AHRQ’s to help advance the nursing profession and practice,” said DCNA’s executive director Herman R. Brown, Jr., Esq. “The Effective Health Care Program resources keep nurses up to date on the latest comparative effectiveness research and information they can immediately use to impact patient education and care.”

DCNA will also incorporate the EHC Program’s continuing education modules accredited for nurses into its professional development programs.

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Families USA

AHRQ helps build the evidence base to make research more relevant and accessible to consumers

left to right: Image 1: Photo of EHC materials on conference table. Image 2: Screenshot of conference toolkit Web page displaying EHC links. image 3: Photo of Jean Slutsky giving AHRQ EHC Program presentation.

Jean Slutsky, P.A., M.S.P.H., director of the Center for Outcomes and Evidence at AHRQ, represented the Effective Health Care (EHC) Program at the workshop Building the Evidence Base, part of Families USA’s Health Action 2013 conference. She joined co-panelists from the Patient Centered Outcomes Institute and Consumers United for Evidence-based Healthcare to help advance evidence-based research and make its findings more relevant to health care consumers.

"I do a lot of work with stakeholder groups concerned about personal responsibility in health care. We have to make sure that people have the tools to make good health care decisions," shared workshop participant Cathy Levine, executive director of UHCAN Ohio. “When I'm diagnosed I want to know what my options are. And who doesn't want that? When it's my body?" She is planning to share the presentation and information she learned through her patient engagement work and through email listserv and newsletter articles. Another organization, the National Physicians Alliance, joined the National Partnership Network after attending this workshop.

Jean Slutsky provided each participant with samples of EHC Program materials, and Families USA distributed Program materials at the larger, main conference. The presentation and links to the Program resources are available to participants as well as Families USA’s larger network of over 25,000 through their online conference toolkit. This is the second consecutive year AHRQ has worked with Families USA at their annual Health Action conference.

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Fletcher Allen Health Care

AHRQ’s evidence-based resources used across an integrated health system serving two States

Thumbnails of co-branded clinician and consumer research summaries

Fletcher Allen Health Care, located in Burlington, VT, added its logo to all of the Effective Health Care (EHC) Program clinician and consumer research summaries, which address 17 health conditions. Fletcher Allen is providing printed copies and electronic files of the consumer resources at the Frymoyer Community Health Resource Center, which receives a good deal of pedestrian traffic because it is centrally located on the main campus and is staffed by a full-time medical librarian and health educator. Fletcher Allen also added a Web link to its “Community Resources” page that directs visitors to the EHC Program site.

“The team at Fletcher Allen Health Care is excited to use the range of resources in our patient and clinician education efforts, which is a key part of our mission to provide the highest quality care,” said Allison Kaigle Holm, Ph.D., senior research specialist.

Fletcher Allen serves a population of greater than one million in Vermont and northern New York.

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Hawaii Primary Care Association

The Aloha State's Primary Care Association joins the National Partnership Network

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.

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Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network

Online resources provide Illinois-based hospitals and consumers access to evidence-based information

Screen shots of CER-dedicated clinician and consumer Web pages   Screen shots of CER-dedicated clinician and consumer Web pages

Serving 52 critical access hospitals and their rural communities, the Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network’s (ICAHN) Web page features two comparative effectiveness research (CER)-dedicated Web pages, one for its member hospitals and the other for patients and caregivers. The hospital-facing page includes an overview of CER as well as quick links to AHRQ’s Effective Health Care (EHC) Program resources. The patient- and caregiver-facing page explains why it is important to compare treatment options, provides links to the Program’s consumer resources, and highlights information about the Treatment Options: Explore. Compare. Prepare. initiative.

"These Web pages enhance our ongoing efforts to share resources, provide education, promote efficiency and best practice, and improve health care services to our members and the patients they serve," said Pat Schou, executive director of ICAHN. "The Treatment Options initiative, especially, provides easy-to-understand information about health care decision making that enables us to educate patients effectively."

The page for patients and caregivers also highlights the initiative’s Facebook pages—available in English and Spanish—to encourage consumers to engage with AHRQ via social media.

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Illinois Primary Health Care Association

Clinical leaders from Illinois community health centers learn about using EHC Program resources to improve the health of Illinoisans

The partnership between the Effective Health Care Program and Illinois Primary Health Care Association (IPHCA) provides evidence-based resources to support shared decision making 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."

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Long Island Health Network

Health Network integrates EHC Program resources into clinical settings

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.

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Midwest Business Group on Health

The EHC Program's diabetes and breast cancer resources support a major health campaign

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).

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Midwest Multistate Division

Nurses in the Midwest virtually convene to discuss AHRQ’s evidence-based resources

The Midwest Multistate Division (MSD), a two-year pilot project of the American Nurses Association (ANA), hosted a Web conference featuring the Effective Health Care (EHC) Program. Sixty nurses representing seven State Nurses Associations (SNA) in the Midwest learned about the Program and how they can use its clinician and consumer research summaries to improve patient health. Participants also received continuing education credit, which was provided by the Missouri Nurses Association.

“Offering a Web conference from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to members of the Midwest Multistate Division enabled us to leverage high-quality resources for our entire membership in the most efficient way possible,” said Jill Kliethermes, MSN, RN, FNP-BC, MSD, who is the chief executive officer of the Missouri Nurses Association and the MSD leader. “Nursing associations are continuously searching for reliable evidence-based resources, and we are very pleased to offer AHRQ’s free resources to all our members.”

The seven SNAs comprising MSD include the Iowa Nurses Association, Kansas State Nurses Association, ANA – Michigan, Missouri Nurses Association, Nebraska Nurses Association, North Dakota Nurses Association, and Wisconsin Nurses Association. The purpose of the project, which is well into the first year, is to gain efficiencies in its business platform so that individual SNAs can focus on increasing effectiveness in advocacy and membership programs.

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Missouri Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons

The "home to osteopathic medicine" embraces EHC Program resources

Screen shot of MAOPS partnership Web page

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.”

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Missouri Health Equity Collaborative

EHC Program is helping Missourians live longer, healthier lives

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 decision making.”

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."

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Montana Area Health Education Center and Office of Rural Health

Health care leaders convene to support AHRQ’s efforts

Health care providers, stakeholders, and leaders from across Montana shared their resounding support for comparative effectiveness research (CER) during a meeting in Helena on November 27, 2012. Hosted by the Montana Area Health Education Center (AHEC) and Office of Rural Health (ORH), an AHRQ regional representative introduced attendees to the Effective Health Care (EHC) Program before participating in a lively discussion about using its evidence-based resources in practice.

"We were very pleased to host AHRQ in Montana. The feedback I have received following the presentation has been very positive. It spurred several ideas for continuing education, and ways to improve patient education. In a rural State like Montana, the AHRQ resources are just what we need to improve quality and patient outcomes," said Kris Juliar, M.A., director of Montana AHEC and ORH.

As a result of the meeting, seven of the State’s influential organizations—including the Montana Medical Association, Montana Nurses Association, and Montana Primary Care Association—joined the EHC Program’s National Partnership Network.

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National Association of Chronic Disease Directors

EHC Program research supports national chronic disease reduction efforts

Screen shot of the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors' Web page dedicated to patient-centered outcomes research.

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 decision making, 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.

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National Association of Free Clinics

Effective Health Care research supports the Nation's free clinics

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.

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National Community Pharmacists Association

Helping pharmacists incorporate patient-centered outcomes research into their practices

ncpaimage.jpg

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) represents the owners, managers, and staff pharmacists of independent community pharmacies in the United States. 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.

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National Network of Libraries of Medicine, New England Region

New England-based medical libraries disseminate EHC Program resources

Screen shots of blog post, Web conference recording, live presentation

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 for approximately 40 members on November 14, 2012. A New York Regional Office lead Tara Schuh, M.S., 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, as well as a few from other regions, 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.”

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National Partnership Network Pharmacy Work Group

Pharmacy partners integrate comparative effectiveness findings into pharmacy training

Picture of a pharmacy office.

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 decision making.

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."

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New York State Society of Physician Assistants

Physician assistants in New York use EHC Program resources

Screen shots of EHC Program link on New York State Society of Physician Assistants resources Web page

Established more than 30 years ago, the New York State Society of Physician Assistants (NYSSPA) featured AHRQ at its fall 2012 conference in Tarrytown. An Effective Health Care (EHC) Program representative met with physician assistants and students from all specialties and practice settings to discuss and share the Program’s resources. The continuing medical education/continuing education (CME/CE) modules accredited for physician assistants were particularly well received by the more than 400 NYSSPA members in attendance.

“AHRQ’s evidence-based resources complement NYSSPA’s continuous efforts to improve the quality of health care and promote the physician assistant profession in the State,” said Jonathan Uitto, NYSSPA executive director. “There is a need for unbiased information, and these resources provide a quick reference for physician assistants, enabling them to compare treatment options with their patients and keep up to date on research.”

NYSSPA also posted a link to the EHC Program Web site on its resources page to ensure that NYSSPA’s 12,000 members can conveniently access the Program’s resources.

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Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, University of the Sciences

Educating future pharmacists about comparative effectiveness research

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.”

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Tennessee Electronic Library

Tennessee adds Effective Health Care Program resources to virtual library

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 decision making. 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.

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Texas Association of Healthcare Quality

Enhancing health care quality in Texas using evidence-based research

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.

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University of California Center for Health Quality and Innovation

High-profile colloquium in California features the Effective Health Care Program's comparative effectiveness resources

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."

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Urban Health Plan, Inc.

EHC Program tools help NYC clinicians, patients review treatment options

Urban Health Plan (UHP), a network of New York City health centers that serves more than 54,000 mostly Spanish-speaking and low-income patients in the Bronx and Queens, has ordered nearly 2,500 EHC Program summaries to support their English- and Spanish-language patient education efforts.

Members of the UHP's staff, meanwhile, use companion EHC Program research summaries for clinicians to support the practice of evidence-based medicine. Each clinician research summary includes a "Clinical Bottom Line" on treatment options and rates the evidence behind its findings.

"UHP is committed to providing high-quality health care to our patients," said Helen J. Arteaga, director of the UHP Plaza del Sol. "These free resources help keep our health team updated on the latest evidence, and support our patient engagement and education efforts. Our bottom line is improving the health of our communities."

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Utah Academy of Family Physicians

UAFP uses social media to share Effective Health Care Program resources with health professionals

UAFP shares Effective Health Care Program materials with its members via tweets, Facebook posts, and blog posts.

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.

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Wake County Human Services

County health department is instrumental in expanding AHRQ's reach in North Carolina

Photo of woman reading a brochure  Photo of a woman showing a man a brochure about health issues

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 decision making. 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.”

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West End Medical Centers

Effective Health Care Program resources help women understand treatment options for their high-risk conditions

Three photos from the COGIC 62nd Women's International Convention showing people seated in the convention hall, a woman giving a speech, and a nurse taking a woman's blood pressure.

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.

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Wyoming Medical Society

Social media enables Wyoming physicians to learn more about AHRQ’s evidence-based resources

Screenshots of Facebook posts

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.”

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Current as of April 2014
Internet Citation: Partners in Action: National Partnership Network. April 2014. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/clinicians-providers/partnership/action/index.html