Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)


The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is one of 12 agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and is charged with improving the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care for all Americans. Today, AHRQ is in serious jeopardy of being eliminated altogether.

AHRQ supports important research to improve clinical decision-making, advance patient safety, decrease medical errors and enhance health care quality and access. In addition, AHRQ is uniquely positioned to support best practice research and to help advance its dissemination to improve primary care nationwide.

The AAFP recognizes the importance of AHRQ’s research into the science of primary care and patient-centered outcomes. We enthusiastically supports these efforts believe the agency must continue to have adequate resources to pursue its goals.

The AHRQ’s key areas of focus include:

  • Safety and Quality: Reduce the risk of harm by promoting delivery of the best possible care.
  • Effectiveness: Improve health care outcomes by encouraging the use of evidence to make informed health care decisions.
  • Efficiency: Transform research into practice to facilitate wider access to effective health care service and reduce unnecessary costs.

Evidence-based family medicine practice requires AHRQ-supported primary care research in areas such as Practice-Based Research Networks (PBRNs), practice transformation, patient quality and safety in non-hospital settings, multi-morbidity research, as well as the delivery of mental and behavioral health services in communities by primary care practices. The AAFP relies on research developed by AHRQ to answer key clinical questions based on the agency’s Effective Health Care Program to help clinicians make better treatment choices. AHRQ provides the critical evidence reviews needed to answer questions on the common acute, chronic, and comorbid conditions that family physicians see on a daily basis.  AHRQ research also examines health information technology to provide the evidence to inform meaningful use policy and practice so that health IT can be used more effectively to improve the quality of American health care.

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