Databases for outcomes research: what has 10 years of experience taught us?Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2001 Aug-Sep; 10(5):445-55.PD
This paper describes how the mission of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is being executed through the many programs that it has developed and implemented. The Evidence-based Practice Center program was developed to provide systematic reviews on common and expensive conditions and health technologies and to ensure that this information is used to improve health care outcomes and costs. The National Guidelines Clearinghouse provides an internet-based source of clinical practice guidelines that are produced by clinical specialty organizations for the primary purpose of improving health care delivery and outcomes. Relevant to this symposium on databases, AHRQ has supported the development of databases to track hospital utilization on a state-by-state basis. The Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) allows comparisons between states and within regions of individual states. New initiatives have been launched to evaluate interventions across systems rather than focusing on the individual patient (Translating Research into Practice--TRIP). The Centers for Education and Research on Therapeutics (CERTs) program was developed to conduct real world evaluations to better understand the benefits and risks of single and combined therapy. Both programs further the mission of the AHRQ to improve the outcomes and quality of health care, with additional focus on the cost-effectiveness, patient safety, and increasing access to care for all. Information on programs developed by the AHRQ is available in more detail at the Agency Web site http://www.ahrq.gov.