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Chapter 7: Implementing Recommended Changes

Future Directions for the National Healthcare Quality and Disparities

Evaluation of the AHRQ Report-Related Endeavor

Along with its recommendation for an increase in financial support to AHRQ to facilitate transformation of the NHQR, NHDR, and their associated products, the Future Directions committee recommends a rigorous evaluation of the reports so that AHRQ can gain a better understanding of the reports' contribution to quality improvement and disparities reduction. The committee recommends that AHRQ institute an explicit, ongoing program of internal and independent external evaluations of the national healthcare reports and associated products to:

  • Offer fresh perspectives on how the reports are being used to produce change.
  • Assess what types of analyses are most actionable.
  • Examine why AHRQ products may not be used by their targeted audiences.
  • Determine ways in which the reports could provide better and more actionable information.
  • Evaluate how the results associated with the products justify the investment in them.

Regular, formal reviews of AHRQ's portfolio of products should consider how to produce the most relevant information possible for policy makers, the public, and individuals and entities responsible for implementing quality improvement interventions, including organizations representing and serving communities of color. The committee does not want to convey the idea that just producing more fact sheets or other derivative products is an end in and of itself. The relevance of these various products should be assessed to assist AHRQ in determining priorities for the continuation of existing products or the development of future ones given available resources. Thus,

Recommendation 10: AHRQ should regularly conduct an evaluation of its products to determine if they are meeting the needs of its target audiences and to assess the degree to which the information in the AHRQ products is leveraged to spur action on quality improvement and the elimination of disparities.

Timeline for Implementing Recommendations

Although the IOM Future Directions committee recognizes that the transformation of the NHQR and NHDR and related products will not happen overnight, action steps can begin with the 2010 reports. The 2010 NHQR and NHDR are under development during calendar year 2010 and planned for release in early 2011. The committee's suggested timeline for action steps is presented in Figure 7-1; any one step in the timeline could be performed earlier than suggested.

Conclusion

The committee recognizes the excellent work that has been done by AHRQ with regard to the publication of the NHQR and NHDR despite some resource constraints. The committee believes that these reports can be made more forward-looking and action-oriented, offering diverse audiences a picture of what constitutes desired health care, where shortcomings in care now lie, and what policies and practices may spur overall improvement in U.S. health care quality and disparities elimination. Sufficient additional resources will be required to support the role that the committee envisions the NHQR and NHDR playing in the future of U.S. quality improvement efforts.

References

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Page last reviewed December 2010
Internet Citation: Chapter 7: Implementing Recommended Changes: Future Directions for the National Healthcare Quality and Disparities . December 2010. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/research/findings/final-reports/iomqrdrreport/futureqrdr7a.html