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AHCPR To Help Public and Private Groups Develop Tools for Clinical Improvement

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Press Release Date: November 25, 1996

As part of its program to strengthen the scientific evidence base used by health care organizations to improve clinical practice, the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research is accepting proposals to fund Evidence-based Practice Centers (EPCs).

The EPCs will produce evidence reports and technology assessments that will be used by systems of care, professional societies, purchasers and others. The work of the centers will provide these organizations with a scientific foundation for developing and implementing their own clinical practice guidelines, performance measures and other clinical quality improvement tools, and for making decisions related to the effectiveness or appropriateness of specific health care technologies.

"This initiative reinforces AHCPR's role as a 'science partner' with public and private organizations in our mutual efforts to make science-based improvements in the quality, effectiveness and appropriateness of clinical practice," said Clifton R. Gaus, Sc.D., AHCPR administrator.

AHCPR intends to provide support for a group of EPCs to produce evidence reports and technology assessments on topics identified by AHCPR for which there is significant demand by potential users. The reports and assessments will be based on comprehensive reviews and rigorous analyses of the relevant scientific evidence—emphasizing explicit and detailed documentation of methods, rationale and assumptions—and peer reviews.

AHCPR also is seeking nominations of topics for the centers' evidence reports and technology assessments. Nominations should focus on specific aspects of the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and/or management of a particular condition, or on an individual procedure, treatment or technology.

"Today's announcements signal the first in a series of exciting new opportunities for AHCPR as we continue our leadership role in improving the use of evidence in clinical practice," said Douglas B. Kamerow, M.D., director of the Office of the Forum for Quality and Effectiveness in Health Care.

Until the new centers are established, AHCPR will convert the work of the last two panels under its former guideline program into the first evidence reports to be issued under the new program. These reports will address screening for colorectal cancer and the diagnosis and management of chronic headache pain. AHCPR also expects to produce two additional evidence reports during this transition phase in cooperation with public- and private-sector partners. The topics for these reports will be announced later this fall.

The solicitation for Evidence-based Practice Centers was published in the November 22 Commerce Business Daily. The Request for Proposals (RFP) will be released no sooner than December 6, 1996. The closing date for proposals will be 90 days after release of the RFP.

For copies of the Evidence-based Practice Centers RFP (AHCPR-97-0001), send a written request to: AHCPR Contracts Management Staff, Attention: Al Deal, Executive Office Center, Suite 601, 2101 East Jefferson Street, Rockville, MD, 20852. Include the requestor's name, affiliation, address, and telephone and telefax numbers.

An announcement regarding nominations of topics for Evidence-based Practice Centers will be published shortly in the Federal Register. To be considered for the first group of evidence reports, topic nominations should be submitted within 60 days of the date of publication of the notice to: Douglas B. Kamerow, M.D., M.P.H., Director, Office of the Forum for Quality and Effectiveness in Health Care, AHCPR, 6000 Executive Blvd., Willco Bldg., Suite 310, Rockville, MD 20852.

For additional information, contact AHCPR Public Affairs: Salina Prasad, (301) 427-1864.

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