AHRQ Research

Examples of AHRQ’s research and evidence that makes health care safer and improves quality

Healthcare-Associated Infections Program

AHRQ’s work significantly helps in the national effort to reduce healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), which are among the leading threats to patient safety, affecting one out of every 31 hospital patients at any one time. More than 1 million HAIs occur across the U.S. health care system every year, leading to tens of thousands of deaths and costing billions of dollars.

The AHRQ HAl Program supports a portfolio of grants and contracts directed toward research on reducing HAIs and wide-scale implementation of proven methods to prevent these dangerous infections. AHRQ's research projects focus on the applied end of the research continuum and generate evidence for developing and demonstrating effective interventions to reduce HAIs. Clinicians in the field use these research results to combat HAIs.

Comparative Health System Performance Initiative

AHRQ’s Comparative Health System Performance Initiative studies how health care delivery systems promote evidence-based practices in delivering care. Three Centers of Excellence to Study High-Performing Health Care Systems are examining different aspects of the U.S. health system to understand factors that affect the use of evidence-based medicine.

Medication-Assisted Treatment of Opioid Abuse in Rural Primary Care Practices

Doctors and nurses in primary care practices—where most rural Americans receive care—need information and tools to provide effective, evidence-based care for patients with opioid addictions. Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is evidence-based therapy for assisting people with opioid addiction in primary care offices. MAT involves using both medications and behavioral support to empower people to manage their addiction. AHRQ is investing approximately $12 million over 3 years in a series of grants to discover how we can best support primary care practices and rural communities in delivering MAT.

Practices involved in the initiative will provide access to MAT to more than 20,000 individuals struggling with opioid addiction using innovative technology, including patient-controlled smart phone apps, and remote training and expert consultation using Project ECHO—a telehealth program started with AHRQ support that links specialists at an academic hub to primary care providers working on the frontlines in rural communities. Together with its grantees, AHRQ will build a blueprint for how other communities and primary care teams can overcome the barriers of providing MAT and ensure access to care across America’s rural communities.

Patient-Centered Outcomes Research

AHRQ is charged with disseminating findings from patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR), building capacity to conduct clinical comparative effectiveness research through training, developing a public resource to provide access to PCOR findings, and supporting the incorporation of findings into health information technologies associated with clinical decision support. To see a full inventory of ongoing and completed AHRQ-funded PCOR dissemination and implementation activities in all of the areas the Agency addresses, visit AHRQ Projects Funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund.

Evidence-Based Reports

AHRQ, through its Evidence-based Practice Centers (EPCs), sponsors the development of reports to assist public and private organizations in their efforts to improve the quality of health care. These Evidence-Based Reports provide comprehensive, science-based information on common, costly medical conditions and new health care technologies and strategies. The EPCs review all relevant scientific literature on a wide spectrum of clinical and health services topics. EPCs also produce technical reports on methodological topics and other types of evidence synthesis-related reports.

Page last reviewed August 2019
Page originally created November 2016
Internet Citation: AHRQ Research. Content last reviewed August 2019. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. https://www.ahrq.gov/research/ahrq-research.html
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