AHRQ Views: Blog posts from AHRQ leaders
Advancing the Science of Moving Research into Practice
A family story tells of how two esteemed relatives, one with a Ph.D. and the other with an M.D. degree, struggled to get a long couch into a house. After watching from the sidewalk for a bit, a neighbor with far less education asked if they wanted a hand and proceeded elegantly to maneuver the couch inside. While the punchline around the dinner table was, ”If you don’t have an education, you have to learn to use your brain,” I think the story may also be a metaphor for medical research.
The pace of medical innovation is staggering. But health systems are failing to put many innovations into practice. Even when one system discovers a better way of delivering health care that improves quality, safety, value, or patient-centeredness, we are slow to spread the innovation to other systems.
This challenge is at the core of AHRQ’s mission—discovering both how to improve health care and ensure that health care systems and professionals understand and use this new evidence. This why AHRQ partners with the National Institutes of Health and AcademyHealth to sponsor the national Conference on the Science of Dissemination and Implementation in Health, which begins today.
Dissemination and Implementation scientists are the under-appreciated neighbors of medical research. They study how innovations can be adapted, adopted, and spread. This week we will gather here in Washington to share new methods, research findings, and practical solutions to ensuring patients are benefiting from medical innovations and best practices.
The conference is attended by a diverse array of participants, including dissemination and implementation scientists, health services researchers, clinicians, C-suite executives, policymakers, public health advocates, and others. All are committed to promoting strategies for integrating evidence-based approaches into clinical and community settings via public health practice, health care delivery, and health care policy.
I am proud to see that AHRQ will be well-represented at the conference. As the agenda shows, many AHRQ colleagues will be presenting posters, giving presentations, and moderating sessions. In addition, I counted nearly 50 posters and presentations by AHRQ grantees, including more than ten by my colleagues from EvidenceNOW. AHRQ’s EvidenceNOW initiative established seven regional cooperatives that have helped more than 1,500 small- and medium-sized primary care practices integrate evidence-based approaches to improve heart health. In recognition of the national Conference on the Science of Dissemination and Implementation in Health, the team today is releasing Tools for Change, an online collection of more than 100 tools and resources to help primary care practices provide evidence-based care.
AHRQ’s work to get evidence into the hands of clinical teams is enhanced by the field of dissemination and implementation science. As the health care landscape continues to evolve and we move toward a more digital world, we will continue to seek and support dissemination and implementation scientists and their efforts to ensure Americans are benefiting from health care innovation.
David Meyers is AHRQ’s Chief Medical Officer.