Monday, April 9, 2012

AHRQ Launches Regional Partnership Development Initiative to Promote Patient-Centered Outcomes Research


The Federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) recently launched efforts to promote patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR) in patient and professional communities in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. territories. AHRQ has established five Regional Partnership Development Offices that are cultivating sustainable partnerships with hospitals and health systems, patient advocacy organizations, businesses, and other groups that serve clinicians, consumers and policymakers. You’re invited to learn more about PCOR and to partner with AHRQ by using and encouraging others to use free PCOR reports and materials, which support efforts to improve the quality of health care in communities.

What is patient-centered outcomes research? PCOR, also known as comparative effectiveness research, provides information that helps clinicians and patients work together to treat an illness or condition. PCOR compares drugs, medical devices, tests, surgeries, or ways to deliver health care. The research findings don’t tell clinicians how to practice medicine or which treatment is best, but theyprovide evidence-based information on the effectiveness and risks of different treatments. Clinicians and patients can use this information to make informed treatment decisions based on each individual’s circumstances.

AHRQ’s Effective Health Care Program works with researchers, research centers, and academic organizations to conduct the research and focuses on 14 priority health conditions, including: cardiovascular and related diseases, diabetes, arthritis, mental health disorders, and pregnancy. The full research reports are made available, and findings are translated into practical patient and clinician materials, that include:

·         Patient Guides (English and Spanish)
·         Clinician Guides
·         Executive Summaries
·         Faculty Slides
·         CME/CE Modules
·         Podcasts
Findings from patient-centered outcomes research can be helpful to everyone participating in health care decision-making:

Patients are often faced with complicated decisions, such as which test is best, which medicine will help most with the least side effects, or whether surgery is the best option. Every patient is different, and each should make informed choices based on individual needs. By providing Effective Health Care Program products that summarize evidence-based, patient-centered outcomes research findings, you can help patients work with their health care professionals to make a more informed decision among many treatment options.

Healthcare professionals use PCOR to keep current on comparisons of medications and treatments. The products developed by the Effective Health Care Program help distill the information so health professionals and consumers can review treatment options together. When research is not available to answer clinical questions, AHRQ publications highlight research gaps.

Policymakers, business leaders, and others want to make health care policy decisions based on reliable, objective information about effectiveness. Patient-centered outcomes research helps decision makers plan evidence-based public health programs.

To learn more about PCOR, order free materials, access our free continuing education modules or to become part of this growing partnership network, please contact Kate Stabrawa in AHRQ’s Denver Regional Partnership Development Office at 303-382-2444 or kate.stabrawa@ahrq.hhs.gov. You can also learn more about patient-centered outcomes research by visiting www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov.

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