AHRQ Publishing and Communications Guidelines
Section 5: Marketing and Stakeholder Outreach
Table of Contents
Promotion of Agency Research, Tools, and Resources
Marketing and Stakeholder Outreach
Journal Article Tracking
Impact Case Studies
AHRQ’s Office of Communications (OC) works to promote the research, tools, and resources developed and funded by the Agency. OC promotes the findings of AHRQ staff, grantees’ and contractors’ AHRQ-funded research through well-established AHRQ communication channels
OC works closely with the Agency’s various research areas to deliver high-quality communication strategies. For marketing and media-related questions, contractors and grantees will contact OC representatives and courtesy copy their project officer or task order officer:
- Marketing and Stakeholder Outreach: Kristie Kiser
- Data Resources, including the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project and Medical Expenditure Panel Survey: Bruce Seeman or Lorin Smith
- Primary Care and Practice Improvement: Kristie Kiser
- U.S. Preventive Services Task Force: Rachel Weinstein
- Patient Safety and Healthcare-Associated Infections: Farah Englert
AHRQ grantees and contractors will coordinate all marketing and stakeholder outreach, including marketing fliers and other materials, through OC.
OC uses a variety of marketing approaches to convey messages directly to the public, policymakers, and professional audiences. It develops marketing plans that encompass different levels of effort and outreach to a range of audiences and works with partners and stakeholders to maximize outreach.
OC promotes findings and tools that have widespread applicability to the healthcare field and looks for opportunities to tell the story of what AHRQ does and how findings help advance the Agency mission. After assessing the marketability of findings and products developed or supported by the Agency, OC will consult with program staff to determine the level of effort and resources to allocate to outreach.
OC evaluates research findings, reports, and tools and tailors outreach accordingly. OC staff use the criteria below to determine the resources they will devote to outreach. OC promotes:
- Research and evidence that makes healthcare safer and improves quality.
- Materials that train healthcare systems and professionals to improve patient care.
- Measures and data used to track and improve performance and evaluate progress of the U.S. healthcare system.
OC asks the following questions to determine whether a tool or finding should receive the highest level, or “enhanced,” outreach effort:
- Is the finding being published in a top-tier journal such as the New England Journal of Medicine or JAMA? Is AHRQ or the journal issuing a press release?
- Is the finding actionable and of wide interest to a broad group of stakeholders, including clinicians, policymakers, payers, or patients?
- Can the finding or tool change healthcare practices or have significant impact in the field? Is it an HHS priority?
OC asks the following questions to determine whether a tool or finding should receive a standard outreach effort:
- Is the research or tool published in a specialty journal such as American Family Physician or The Green Journal?
- Is the research actionable and of interest to a narrow, targeted list of stakeholder groups?
- Is the research or tool important to the field, even though it does not necessarily have a broader message applicable to a wide audience?
- Is the research or tool not published in a journal but has value to specific audiences?
- Is more research needed? OC raises awareness as a “for the record approach” since the Agency has spent tax dollars to fund the research.
Once a finding or tool is determined to be of standard-level interest, OC may use the following approaches to promote it:
- Issue listserv announcements via various AHRQ lists.
- Include a short article or link to findings in AHRQ News Now, AHRQ’s weekly e-newsletter.
- Feature the finding or tool in OC’s outreach to key stakeholder organizations and ask for their assistance in promoting the information to their members.
AHRQ uses the following social media tools:
- LinkedIn page, AHRQ Leader LinkedIn pages, and discussion groups associated with AHRQ programs
- Twitter @AHRQNews
- YouTube channels
Helpful references include the following:
- HHS Social Media Policies
- HHS Social Media
- HHS Terms of Service Agreements
- HHS-OCIO Policy for Social Media Technologies
OC maintains the AHRQ Facebook page. OC and program staff can develop posts; all AHRQ Facebook posts are subject to review by OC staff.
To submit content for the AHRQ Facebook page, send an email to email@example.com that includes the topic in the subject line, text for the post, requested posting date, related links, and related photos.
AHRQ’s Facebook interactions include:
- Liking. AHRQ will like other Federal, State, and local healthcare-related agencies, as well as partners, stakeholders, and influencers.
- Sharing posts. AHRQ will share information upon request, provided the post aligns with AHRQ’s mission, from Federal and State healthcare-related agencies and organizations that have a relationship with AHRQ. OC handles requests to share other organizations’ information on a case-by-case basis.
- Responding to inquiries or comments.
- Comments posted to AHRQ Facebook pages must adhere to the AHRQ Comment Policy.
- OC will address individual inquiries submitted as comments and will work with program staff, if necessary, to respond.
- AHRQ will not respond to media inquiries through Facebook. Send media inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- For comments that may not be addressed by the AHRQ Comment Policy, OC or appropriate program staff will review the post and create a response.
OC welcomes suggestions for AHRQ Facebook posts from program staff and asks that staff follow these guidelines:
- Email suggested posts to email@example.com.
- Include a web link to the item.
- Write short posts in plain language. See AHRQ guidance on plain language.
- Highlight an AHRQ product: data, tools, research findings, campaigns, events, publications, etc.
AHRQ exists as a company on LinkedIn, and the site features discussion groups associated with AHRQ programs, including an AHRQ Data Resources group and private groups (e.g., Patient Safety Organizations).
All AHRQ LinkedIn pages or discussion groups must link to the AHRQ Comment Policy.
OC will work with AHRQ staff members to address any comments as needed. If a contractor manages an AHRQ LinkedIn discussion page, the contractor must work with OC and AHRQ staff members to address comments.
To submit content for the AHRQ LinkedIn page, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org that includes the text for the post, requested posting date, related links, and related photos. Write suggested posts in plain language. Ensure AHRQ has the digital rights to images submitted with suggested posts.
To create a LinkedIn discussion group or AHRQ Leader LinkedIn page, email email@example.com to discuss management and support of the account. Consider the target audience, objectives, activities, technical requirements (e.g., 508 compliance), and resources needed to maintain the account.
In addition, creators of AHRQ LinkedIn pages must keep records of comments on discussion groups. Email Pat Bosco, AHRQ’s Records Management Officer, to determine the appropriate records schedule and records management practices.
OC maintains the Agency’s Twitter account, @AHRQNews, to ensure that Agency tweets are coordinated, present a balanced view of Agency activities, and further the Agency’s mission.
OC works with program staff to identify appropriate Twitter content and to develop tweets. Each tweet is intended to disseminate up-to-date and relevant AHRQ information, including products, events, and funding announcements.
Tweets are limited to 280 characters, including spaces, hashtags, and URLs. AHRQ uses a URL shortener to keep tweets to the 280-character limit. Individuals who have suggested tweets should coordinate tweets with OC to ensure tweets conform to Twitter, HHS, and AHRQ guidelines. Go to the HHS Twitter Guidelines for additional details about Twitter.
Email suggested tweets and web links to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include the topic in the subject line, text for the post, date it should be posted, and any related links and hashtags.
Hashtags (# symbol) make it easy for AHRQ to brand content and for people to search for AHRQ content. OC welcomes suggestions for hashtags and recommends staff use these best practices:
- Use no more than three hashtags per tweet.
- Avoid starting a tweet with a hashtag.
- Introduce a new hashtag when you want to start a conversation.
AHRQ’s interactions on Twitter for the @AHRQNews accounts include:
- Following other Twitter users. AHRQ will follow other Federal, State, and local healthcare-related agencies, as well as partners, stakeholders, and influencers.
- Retweeting. AHRQ will retweet information from organizations and individuals provided that the tweet aligns with AHRQ’s mission. OC considers requests to retweet on a case-by-case basis.
- Responding to inquiries. OC will assess individual inquiries on Twitter and work directly with AHRQ staff members to write a response.
Neither AHRQ staff nor contractors will respond to media inquiries through Twitter. Send media inquiries to email@example.com.
In cases where these guidelines do not address a specific issue concerning an interaction, OC will work with AHRQ program staff to address the issue before responding. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All videos on the AHRQ website are hosted on AHRQ’s YouTube channels. Information on preparing and submitting videos for YouTube posting are in Section 1, Product Development.
The following guidelines govern AHRQ’s interactions on YouTube:
- Subscribing to other YouTube channels. AHRQ will subscribe to YouTube channels that belong to Federal, State, and local healthcare-related agencies as well as channels that belong to partners, stakeholders, and influencers. AHRQ will not subscribe to political YouTube channels.
- Responding to inquiries or comments. Users may leave comments on AHRQ YouTube channels provided the comments adhere to the AHRQ Comment Policy. AHRQ’s YouTube manager will work with AHRQ staff to address comments or questions on specific videos. In cases where these guidelines do not address a specific issue concerning an interaction, OC will work with AHRQ program staff to address the issue or question before responding. Send questions to email@example.com.
The Agency has several topic-specific listservs for subscribers interested in the Agency’s various research areas. Similar to short e-newsletter articles, listserv postings typically include five to six sentences about the research or tool along with a link to the relevant section of the AHRQ website where the original source material can be found.
OC tracks the publication of all AHRQ-funded research and assesses it for outreach potential, which can range from a press release to a mention in AHRQ News Now.
As soon as program staff, contractors, or grantees learn that their AHRQ-funded research findings have been accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, they must send a copy of the manuscript (drafts are acceptable) and the following information to firstname.lastname@example.org:
- Title of study
- Author names
- Editor’s tracking code (if available)
- AHRQ grant or contract number
- Type of article (research study, commentary, letter to the editor, etc.)
- Name of journal
- Journal contact (editor’s contact name, email, and phone number)
- Online publication date, with embargo time if applicable
- Estimated print publication date, with embargo time if applicable
- AHRQ program contact (task order or grant officer)
Note: AHRQ always honors embargo dates and coordinates with journals as needed.
To ensure OC has sufficient time to plan outreach efforts, AHRQ staff must notify OC as soon as they learn that their, their grantee’s, or their contractor’s manuscript has been accepted for publication.
AHRQ Impact Case Studies show how AHRQ-funded research, products, and tools have influenced clinical practice, improved policies, and affected patient outcomes. They are used in congressional testimony, budget documents, and speeches. Grantees and contractors whose AHRQ-funded research has had an impact on healthcare policy, clinical practice, or patient outcomes should review the criteria and fill out the form available on the AHRQ’s Impact Case Studies web page. Email questions to ImpactCaseStudies@ahrq.hhs.gov.
OC has dedicated staff who serve as liaisons and work directly with communications directors at key Agency stakeholder organizations. AHRQ’s stakeholders fall into these categories:
- Clinicians in clinical, research, or academic practice across healthcare settings
- Safety and quality improvement professionals
- Health system leaders
- Federal partners
- Health services researchers, including data analysts and statisticians
AHRQ grantees and contractors who are approached about developing a partnership or other arrangement with a stakeholder organization should contact OC’s Kristie Kiser for guidance.
Page originally created April 2009