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Press Release Date: June 25, 1997
HHS Secretary Donna E. Shalala today announced the start of a new program designed to
help clinicians, providers, and health plans improve the quality of health care by giving them state-of-the-art scientific information on common, costly medical conditions and new health care
Under its Evidence-based Practice Program, HHS' Agency for Health Care Policy and
Research (AHCPR) is awarding 12 five-year contracts to institutions in the United States and
Canada to serve as Evidence-based Practice Centers (EPCs). The EPCs will review all the
relevant scientific literature on medical topics assigned to them by AHCPR, and conduct
additional analyses when appropriate.
Their findings will be produced as "evidence reports" or technology assessments, which
AHCPR will disseminate widely through its site on the World Wide Web and as printed
documents. The evidence reports will serve as the scientific foundation for public- and private-sector organizations to develop tools and strategies for improving the quality of health care
services they provide and pay for. Technology assessments produced by the EPCs will give
health plans and payers information they need to make informed decisions about covering new
and changing medical devices and procedures.
"AHCPR's Evidence-based Practice Program, which includes the EPCs and the recently
announced National Guideline Clearinghouse™, will help clinicians, health plans and other providers
make critical health care decisions using the best scientific knowledge available," said Secretary
Shalala. "Our goal is to use the Internet and every other means of dissemination to ensure that
this information is used to provide high quality health care services and achieve the best value for
the money this nation spends on health care."
The EPCs will tackle specific topics within broad areas such as adult health, child and
adolescent health, maternal health, geriatrics, rehabilitation, dental health, mental health and
substance abuse, alternative care, and preventive care. The first set of topics, nominated by
public- and private-sector organizations in response to a solicitation published by AHCPR in
November 1996, will be announced this summer.
"The reports produced by the EPCs will have a significant impact on the quality of health
care services by providing much-needed critical evaluations of the available scientific literature
regarding clinical interventions and technologies," said John M. Eisenberg, M.D., AHCPR
administrator. "This information will be invaluable not only to individual clinicians, health plans,
providers and purchasers, but also to the health care system as a whole by providing important
information to help reduce the unnecessary variations in medical practice."
To bring the broadest range of experts into the development of evidence reports and
health technology assessment, the EPCs are encouraged to form partnerships and enter into
collaborations with other medical and research organizations.
"AHCPR's Evidence-based Practice Centers will bring together the best of health services
research to improve clinical practice and medical decisionmaking," said Douglas Kamerow, M.D., director of AHCPR's Office of the Forum for Quality and Effectiveness in Health Care.
"The EPCs will work with partner organizations to ensure that the evidence reports and
technology assessments they produce will become building blocks for health care quality
improvement projects throughout the nation."
AHCPR's Evidence-based Practice Centers
The following is a list of the AHCPR Evidence-based Practice Centers and the
organizations with which they will collaborate:
Blue Cross/Blue Shield Technical Evaluation Center, Chicago IL.
Collaborators include: Kaiser Permanente and, through members of the TEC Medical
Advisory Panel, American College of Physicians; University of Washington,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Wisconsin School of Medicine; University of
Pittsburgh; and Johns Hopkins University.
Duke University, Durham, NC.
Sub-contractor Health Economics Research, Inc, Waltham, Mass.
ECRI, Plymouth Meeting, Pa.
Collaborators include Leonard Davis Institute and Philadelphia School of Pharmacy and
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Collaborators include University of Maryland and the Baltimore Cochrane Center.
McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Collaborators include Canadian Cochrane Center and St. Joseph Hospital.
MetaWorks, Inc., Boston, MA.
Collaborators include Leonard Davis Institute and Philadelphia VA Medical Center.
New England Medical Center, Boston, MA.
Collaborators include the San Francisco Cochrane Center, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of
Massachusetts; and the Tufts Managed Care Institute.
Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, OR.
Collaborators include Northwest Kaiser Permanente and Northwest VA Medical Center.
RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, CA.
Collaborators include the University of California, Los Angeles; University of California,
San Diego; University of Southern California; Cedars Sinai; Value Health Sciences; and
VA Medical Centers.
Research Triangle Institute and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC.
Collaborators include: Morehouse Medical Treatment Effectiveness Center, Morehouse
School of Medicine; UrbanHealth Institute, Harlem Hospital Center; and the Harvard
School of Public Health, Center for Quality of Care Researchand Education.
University of California,San Francisco and Stanford University, San Francisco, Calif.
and Stanford, CA.
Collaborators include the San Francisco Cochrane Center; Kaiser Permanente; and VA
Medical Centers in San Francisco,Palo Alto, and Menlo Park.
University of Texas, San Antonio, TX.
Collaborators include the San Antonio and San Francisco Cochrane Centers and American
College of Physicians.
For additional information, contact AHCPR Public Affairs: Karen Migdail, (301) 427-1855 (KMigdail@ahrq.gov); Salina V. Prasad, (301) 427-1864