AHRQ Views

Blog posts from AHRQ leaders

In a time of increasing health care costs, information based on research and evidence is a critical component of improving decisions at every level of health care. AHRQ is at the forefront of efforts to supply that information, both for individuals, health systems, and our Federal partners.

Recently, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) took the important step of publishing an online resource that provides valuable information on Medicare drug spending. CMS launched the Medicare Drug Spending Dashboard (PDF File, 40 KB) as part of its efforts to provide additional information, increase transparency and address the affordability of prescription drugs. The dashboard, which includes information about drugs covered by Medicare Parts B and D, identifies medications that represent high costs per user and for the Medicare program, as well as those drugs that have recently increased in cost.

As noted in a blog authored by Acting CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt and CMS Chief Data Officer Niall Brennan, other entities—including AHRQ—complement these data by providing meaningful information to help consumers in health care decisionmaking. AHRQ's Evidence-based Practice Center Program (EPC), for example, has developed numerous research reviews that have synthesized evidence on the effectiveness and harms of medication options for a variety of conditions.

For instance, an EPC review that compared treatments for anemia in cancer patients included information about the impact of therapies on anemia, the need for transfusion, clotting episodes, survival, and quality of life. The information about the available options and how they compare with each other or compare to no treatment, as well as an assessment of the quality and strength of the evidence  augments the CMS dashboard's information about spending on epoetin and darbepoetin, and assists patients and clinicians in making better informed health care decisions.

To assist consumers and clinicians with identifying relevant information, AHRQ has provided a list of EPC reports relevant to the drugs on the Medicare Drug Spending Dashboard on the Effective Health Care Web site.

Research and evidence are cornerstones of creating the health care system of the 21st century—a health care system that delivers value, while protecting patients and improving quality of care.  AHRQ's investments help lead the way—not only in producing research and evidence, but in developing tools and training, and in creating data and measures.

Page last reviewed December 2015
Page originally created December 2015
Internet Citation: AHRQ Provides Evidence on Drugs in CMS Dashboard. Content last reviewed December 2015. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/blog/ahrqviews/122815.html