AHRQ Views: Blog posts from AHRQ leaders
Preparing for the 2016 AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting—And the Future of Health Services Research
As I head to Boston today for my first AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting (ARM) as director of AHRQ, I’m excited about the prospect of seeing old friends from the health services research community and of meeting new friends who undoubtedly will have ideas to share about the future of the Agency.
In many ways, the timing couldn’t be better. I’ve spent the past 2 months learning the inside story about what makes AHRQ great and meeting with a wide range of stakeholders, including members of Congress, to be sure they understand the value of the Agency’s important work. With budget season once again upon us, it’s more essential than ever that I be able to tell the story of AHRQ’s role in producing evidence to make health care safer, higher quality, more accessible, equitable, and affordable, and how we are working with colleagues in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and with other partners to make sure that the evidence is understood and used.
Part of that work is through grants that we award to researchers around the country to study a variety of ways to make the health care system safer. For example, Chris Landrigan, M.D., M.P.H., an associate professor of medicine and pediatrics at Harvard Medical School in Boston, is one of several AHRQ training grant recipients who have developed and tested a new trigger tool to identify adverse events in pediatric patients. His AHRQ-funded study on the Global Assessment of Pediatric Patient Safety (GAPPS) trigger tool was published in the May issue of Pediatrics. Chris and others are profiled on the AHRQ Web site and really help to “put a face” on the critical work being done around the country every day by AHRQ-funded researchers.
As a former grantee myself, I know firsthand how transformative AHRQ funding support can be for a career in health services research. AHRQ is proud to count some of the Nation’s top researchers among those for whom AHRQ provided a foundation and stepping stone for their work: Lucian Leape, M.D., at Harvard; Peter Pronovost, M.D., at John Hopkins; and Karen DeSalvo, M.D., the Acting Assistant Secretary for Health and the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, who I’m now proud to call a colleague here within HHS, are just a few.
Some of our key AHRQ grantees and staff are speaking and presenting posters during several sessions at the AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting. For example, Sharon Arnold, Ph.D., AHRQ’s deputy director, is presenting during the "Measures That Matter" session on Sunday, and Jeff Brady, M.D., who directs AHRQ's Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety, will speak during "Diagnostic Safety: An Emerging Frontier for Health Services Research and Quality Improvement," which is on Monday. There are many others as well—too many to list here.
For my part, I’ll be hosting a town hall in Meeting Room 206 at the Hynes Convention Center on Sunday, June 26, from 12:15 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. I will be sharing some of my thoughts on where the Agency is headed in terms of grant funding opportunities, investments in data to support health services researchers, and evolving work to move evidence to the frontlines of care.
As we shape the Agency’s activities going forward, it’s important that we have input from colleagues across the health services research community about what areas we should be focusing on, and how we can best tell our story. Thus, I’m hoping you will join me at this town hall or come meet with me when I’ll be helping to staff AHRQ’s exhibit booth (# 309 in Exhibit Hall D at the Hynes Convention Center) on Monday, June 27, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., EST.
I’m eager to hear from as many of you as possible. So even if we are not able to meet in person, I hope you will write me at Director@AHRQ.hhs.gov to share your thoughts on how the Agency can best communicate the role it has played in improving health care delivery. Or, if you have an idea that’s short and sweet, tweet me @AHRQNews and use #AHRQideas.
Ultimately, my goal is to make sure that AHRQ remains a beacon and supportive partner at the center of scholarship and evidence-based improvement in health care delivery. The ARM provides a wonderful opportunity for me and the many colleagues at AHRQ who will also be in attendance to learn from all of you about how we can best do this together.