At the July 18 National Advisory Council for Healthcare Research and Quality meeting, Gopal Khanna, MBA, Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), led the discussion about AHRQ’s core competencies of research, practice improvement, and data analytics. He asked members of the Council to consider what actions AHRQ can take to build upon these core competencies, as well as ensure research is operationalized and that data is accessible to stakeholders.
AHRQ’s Acting Deputy Director, Francis D. Chesley, Jr., MD, updated the council about the closing of the National Guideline Clearinghouse (NGC) on July 16. The NGC had served as a repository of clinical practice guidelines since 1998; however, budget cuts over the last several years required AHRQ to rethink the funding. Beginning in 2013, the NGC was funded through the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research (PCOR) Trust Fund, given the direct alignment to dissemination and implementation. AHRQ is currently maintaining the data from NGC and is looking into possible public/private partnerships to support the database.
Council members heard from David Meyers, MD, AHRQ’s Chief Medical Officer, who presented an update on AHRQ’s work to support the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) 5-Point Strategy to Combat the Opioid Crisis. This work includes the publication of 250 tools and resources for implementing medication-assisted treatment (MAT) in primary care practice settings, the development of electronic clinical decision support tools, and the completion of systematic evidence reviews of interventions for substance abuse treatment.
The meeting concluded with a discussion about ways AHRQ is working to make data more relevant for health system leaders. Dr. Chesley shared how the Comparative Health System Performance Initiative and its three Centers of Excellence are exploring the factors that influence the adoption of evidence-based medicine and characteristics of high-performing health systems. He also referenced the funding opportunity that AHRQ and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) have announced, the Learning Health Systems Mentored Career Development Program (K12). Awards will support patient-centered outcomes research training to clinicians and scientists within learning health systems to enhance the generation and application of evidence into practice. The program promotes the development of a workforce equipped to interpret data and lead implementation efforts across the health care system.