The Effective Health Care Program Stakeholder Guide


About This Guide

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has designed this Guide to encourage patients, researchers, clinicians, and others to become involved in its Effective Health Care (EHC) Program. The Guide highlights opportunities to take part in the program and describes what to expect throughout the process.

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What Is the Effective Health Care Program?


The extraordinary pace of medical innovation over the past few decades has created unprecedented opportunities to improve health care and health outcomes. To best realize these opportunities, all participants in the health system—from patients to clinicians to policymakers—must have accurate, reliable, and actionable information to help guide and inform their health care choices.

To support this goal, AHRQ launched the EHC Program in 2005 to increase the value of the health care Americans receive and, ultimately, to improve health outcomes. The EHC Program is the Nation’s first coordinated program of comparative effectiveness research/patient-centered outcomes research, research that compares the benefits and risks of various approaches to health care. Patient-centered outcomes research investigates different drugs, devices, surgeries, and health care delivery arrangements to determine which approaches work best, for which patients, and under which circumstances.

EHC Program research includes reviews of published evidence, analysis of data to address new questions, and the design and conduct of studies comparing health care interventions or modes of service delivery. The EHC Program then translates research findings into practical materials for patients, clinicians, and policymakers. AHRQ works with a range of partners to implement the EHC Program (

Involving Stakeholders

Stakeholders are people or groups—each with a unique perspective—who have an interest in health care decisions. The EHC Program seeks the involvement of a wide range of stakeholders throughout the research process. AHRQ firmly believes that involving stakeholders from the beginning improves research results, and helps ensure that findings are relevant to users’ distinct concerns and have applications in real-world situations.

Who Are the EHC Program Stakeholders?

EHC Program stakeholders include—

  • Consumers, patients, caregivers, and patient advocacy organizations.
  • Clinicians and their professional associations.
  • Health care institutions, such as hospital systems and medical clinics, and their associations.
  • Health care policymakers at the Federal, State, and local levels.
  • Health care researchers and research institutions.
  • Health care industry and industry associations.
  • Purchasers and payers, such as employers and public and private insurers.

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How Can You Get Involved?

As a stakeholder, you can contribute to the EHC Program in a variety of ways. As discussed in this Guide, opportunities include—

  • Suggesting a research topic.
  • Providing insights on research priorities.
  • Informing the refinement of research topics and the development of Key Questions.
  • Helping develop a research approach.
  • Reviewing draft research findings.
  • Improving research products and tools through evaluation and feedback.
  • Distributing research products and leading implementation.

Not all types of stakeholders are involved in all stages of the EHC Program research; instead, the program calls on stakeholders where they can have the most impact. Some are approached to take part and others volunteer.

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How To Use This Guide

This Guide is intended for all stakeholders. You can use it to help find out more about ways you can contribute to EHC Program research and what to expect (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Effective Health Care Program: Stakeholder roles

Figure 1 lists the seven roles of stakeholders in the Effective Health Care Program: suggesting a research topic, providing insight on research priorities, informing the refinement of research topics and the development of Key Questions, helping develop a research approach, reviewing draft research findings, improving research products and tools through evaluation and feedback, and distributing research reports and products and leading in implementation.

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Page last reviewed February 2014
Page originally created September 2012
Internet Citation: Introduction. Content last reviewed February 2014. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.