AHRQ Views

Blog posts from AHRQ leaders

Gopal KhannaI've just returned from AcademyHealth's Annual Research Meeting in Seattle. Kudos to Lisa Simpson and everyone at AcademyHealth for another outstanding event; well done!

On the flight home, I reflected on what I heard about the field of health services research (HSR) during conference sessions, in hallway conversations, and while I was at AHRQ's booth. In particular, I found myself thinking about what AHRQ grantees, users of our research, stakeholders, and others said about how the Agency can help meet their unmet needs, improve quality and safety of care, expand use of AHRQ tools, and build on the availability of data for innovation.

Among the highlights of the conference for me was the chance to open a terrific conversation on Monday about the future of health services research, which was moderated by AHRQ's Acting Deputy Director and Director of the Office of Extramural Research, Education and Priority Populations, Francis Chesley, M.D. He was joined by Jonathan Perlin, M.D., Ph.D., from the Hospital Corporation of America; Russell Holman, M.D., LifePoint Health; and Ashish Jha, M.D., M.P.H., Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Speaking to a standing room–only audience, the panel discussed the rapid evolution of the health care marketplace, and the changes being driven by technology, demographics, and industry realignment. We asked ourselves and the audience what members of the C-suite need to make decisions as they put research to work in their organizations. And, we also asked what we can do to adopt a more holistic, transdisciplinary, person-360 approach to HSR.

These points fit very well with my priorities for AHRQ and the future of HSR. We know that senior executives of health care systems and hospitals want data-driven, evidence-based research that finds solutions to reduce medical errors and streamlines services for cost efficiencies while improving the health of all Americans, which can help make care more efficient, effective, and patient-centered, known as the Triple Aim.

That's why I'm very excited about HSR initiatives like incorporating advanced artificial intelligence processes into electronic health records and clinical decision support systems, and health information technology (IT) initiatives like telehealth to address the opioid crisis in rural locations. As anyone who has heard me speak knows, I am also a champion of leveraging AHRQ's rich data assets—especially MEPS and HCUP—and linking them with social services and public, private, and nonprofit data to create new knowledge and insights. These ideas are crucial to improve health while reducing health care costs, and creating value for the American people.

To expand on these discussion points, AHRQ is considering a number of exciting opportunities to harness the ideas and entrepreneurial spirit of people in the public and private sectors to help solve the health care issues we face today and in the future. To make that possible, AHRQ will soon organize a challenge competition aimed at developing user-friendly tools to collect and integrate patient-reported outcome data in electronic health records or from other health IT products.

But we can't stop there. To keep that momentum going, we are also considering other similar kinds of challenge competitions, too. Some of those areas could possibly include:

  • AHRQ Code-a-Thon to digitize AHRQ tools so that the C-suite, physicians, nurses, and other providers can use them and that the value proposition for them is clear.
  • AHRQ Datathon to discover, use and share insights about AHRQ’s rich and complex datasets in order to establish a transdisciplinary approach that addresses whole-person care.
  • AHRQ Quality Moonshot to create ways that health care delivery systems and providers can empower and hold accountable interdisciplinary teams to more rapidly improve quality and safety of care, and health care outcomes.

Watch this space for the latest information on AHRQ's plans going forward. In the meantime, I hope you'll be an active part of the conversation to help determine the future of HSR and the direction the field should take to improve the quality and safety of care and best serve the American people.

Gopal Khanna is the Director of AHRQ.

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Page last reviewed June 2018
Page originally created June 2018
Internet Citation: AcademyHealth ARM and AHRQ: Finding Innovative Solutions To Better Understand, Implement Research. Content last reviewed June 2018. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. https://www.ahrq.gov/news/blog/ahrqviews/innovative-solutions-research.html
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