The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) was first established in 1989 in the hopes of improving the quality and efficiency of healthcare in the United States using evidence-based approaches . The AHRQ contributes to improving health systems in the United States primarily by investing in research and evidence generation efforts, creating training materials and resources, and by sponsoring performance and evaluation initiatives. It is important to understand the role and impact of the AHRQ when considering ways to improve one’s own clinical practice, and in making decisions about initiatives through the agency one may like to support and advocate for moving forward.
The AHRQ funds basic research in an effort to improve the safety and quality of hospital care. Some have attributed the decrease in hospital acquired infections (HACs) to the Affordable Care Act’s expanded quality and safety provisions, that are supported by the tools, resources, and data generated by the AHRQ. For instance, basic research on central line infections that was supported by the AHRQ motivated and informed the Partnership for Patients (PfP) initiatives for national education and outreach programming [2, 3]. Additionally, as part of their research initiatives, the AHRQ designed the Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC) program. The EPC program initially included 12 centers across the U.S. recruited to conduct systematic reviews of the evidence available on important questions in healthcare. These questions were nominated by leaders in the medical field who would later be tasked with utilizing the results of these studies to improve clinical practices. There are now 13 centers, the majority of which are generalist EPCs that review a wide range of topics decided by outside partners .
The AHRQ plays an