[Federal Register Volume 66, Number 204 (Monday, October 22, 2001)]
[Notices]
[Pages 53419-53420]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 01-26476]


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DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality


Public Comment on AHRQ's Evidence-based Practice Program

AGENCY: The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), DHHS.

ACTION: Request for public comments.

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SUMMARY: AHRQ will issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) in December 
2001, to continue its Evidence-based Practice Centers Program (EPC 
Program). Prior to release of the RFP, AHRQ invites comments from 
interested parties about the EPC Program with respect to: (a) What has 
worked well; (b) What has not worked well; (c) What changes and 
improvements could be made.
    AHRQ also is interested in suggestions about new opportunities. For 
example, what steps might AHRQ take to encourage more healthcare 
organizations and other relevant groups to translate EPC evidence 
reports into clinical practice guidelines? What steps might AHRQ take 
to expand the number of performance measures, educational curricula, 
and other quality enhancement tools derived from EPC evidence reports? 
How might AHRQ better track implementation of the evidence-based tools 
and measures derived from EPC evidence reports, that impact on patient 
outcomes and quality of care? Are there information technology systems 
that AHRQ might utilize to broaden clinician access to and use of EPC 
products?

DATES: To be considered for incorporation in the planned RFP, comments 
must be received by Friday, November 9, 2001. Comments should be sent 
to Jacqueline Besteman via e-mail (preferred) jbstema@ahrq.gov; or fax 
number: 301-594-4027.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jacqueline Besteman, J.D., M.A., 
Director, EPC Program, Center for Practice and Technology Assessment, 
AHRQ, 6010 Executive Blvd., Suite 300, Rockville, MD 20852; Phone: 
(301) 594-4017; Fax: (301) 594-4027; E-mail: jbestema@ahrq.gov

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    AHRQ is the lead Federal agency for enhancing the quality, 
appropriateness, and effectiveness of healthcare services and access to 
such services. In carrying out this mission, AHRQ conducts and funds 
research that develops and presents evidence-based information on 
healthcare outcomes, quality, cost, use and access. Included in AHRQ's 
legislative mandate is support of syntheses and wide-spread 
dissemination of scientific evidence, including dissemination of 
methods or systems for rating the strength of scientific evidence. 
These research findings and syntheses assist providers, clinicians, 
payers, patients, and policymakers in making evidence-based decisions 
regarding the quality and effectiveness of health care.
    In June 1997, AHRQ established the Evidence-based Practice Center 
Program (EPC Program) to better respond to significant changes within 
the health care industry. AHRQ became a science partner with private 
and public-sector organizations in their efforts to improve the 
quality, effectiveness and appropriateness of clinical practice. AHRQ 
awarded 5-year contracts to 12 institutions and designated them as 
Evidence-based Practice Centers (EPCs). Since 1997, the EPCs have 
conducted more than 80 systematic reviews and analyses of scientific 
literature on a wide spectrum of topics, incorporating

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the results and conclusions into evidence reports and technology 
assessments (visit AHRQ's website www.ahrq.gov for Summaries of EPC 
reports).
    EPC evidence reports and technology assessments have been used by 
systems of care, professional societies, health plans, public and 
private purchasers, States, and other entities, as a scientific 
foundation for development and implementation of their own clinical 
practice guidelines, clinical pathways, review criteria, performance 
measures, and other clinical quality improvement tools, as well as for 
formulation of evidence-based policies related to specific health care 
technologies.
    The objectives of the upcoming second competition for the EPC 
Program (EPC II) are: (1) Continuation of the methodologically rigorous 
systematic reviews and analyses of scientific literature on clinical, 
organizational, and financing systems topics; (2) updating or prior EPC 
reports; (3) supporting EPC methodologies assistance to professional 
organizations and others, to facilitate translation of the evidence 
reports into quality improvement tools, educational programs, etc.; and 
(4) expanded EPC methods and implementation research.
    The EPC Program in an essential component of AHRQ's resources for 
evidence-based systematic reviews, analyses, and research. AHRQ intends 
that evidence reports, technology assessments, and research, flowing 
from EPC II will be more useful to a broader array of stakeholders--
consumers, providers, employers, policymakers--and be more rapidly 
available. AHRQ invites your comments and suggestions on how to achieve 
these EPC Program goals.

    Dated: October 15, 2001.
John M. Eisenberg,
Director.
[FR Doc. 01-26476 Filed 10-19-01; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4160-90-M