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AHRQ Announces First Phase of Reviews Under Its New Research Program on the Effectiveness of Health Care Interventions

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Press Release Date: June 22, 2005

HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality today announced the first phase of research reviews that will be performed under its new Effective Health Care Program. The program will largely include work funded under Section 1013 of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003.

The essential goals of the Section 1013 mandate are to develop evidence on the comparative effectiveness of different treatments and appropriate clinical approaches to difficult health problems. To achieve these goals, AHRQ will support projects to review, synthesize and translate published and unpublished scientific evidence, as well as identify important issues for which existing scientific evidence is insufficient to inform decisions about health care. This evidence will be made readily available to all health care decisionmakers in a wide range of formats.

"These research reviews will provide invaluable information to providers and patients who need to make evidence-based decisions about treatments and interventions every day," said Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D., AHRQ's director. "The reviews also will help our federal partners and private-sector policymakers make critical decisions by filling gaps in information on what works and doesn't work in health care services, and by identifying important gaps for future research."

This initial set of 10 research reviews will provide science-based information on the effectiveness of health care interventions, including prescription drugs, to enhance decision making by Medicare policymakers, beneficiaries and providers. The reviews will address questions on the priority conditions of the Medicare program established by the Secretary in 2004, which were selected by a steering committee comprised of representatives from AHRQ, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Food and Drug Administration and the HHS Office of the Secretary. The list is available on the AHRQ Web site at http://www.ahrq.gov/news/press/pr2004/mmapr.htm. Future reviews will address issues that relate to Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program. The results will be made available to the three public programs as well as to health plans, prescription drug plans, other health care providers and the public.

AHRQ's Evidence-based Practice Centers (EPCs) will conduct the reviews, and the Oregon Evidence-based Practice Center at Oregon Health & Science University and Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland will serve as the Methodology Resource Center for AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program. The reviews will take 7 to 12 months to complete, and they will be available beginning in October 2005. The set of initial topics will address:

  • Management strategies for gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Benefits and safety of analgesics for osteoarthritis
  • New diagnostic technologies for evaluation of abnormal breast cancer screening
  • Epoetin and Darbepoetin for managing anemia in patients undergoing cancer treatment
  • Off-label use of atypical anti-psychotic medications
  • Renal artery stenting compared to aggressive anti-hypertensive medical therapy for mild renal artery stenosis
  • Therapies for localized prostate cancer
  • Oral medications for diabetes management
  • Medications for depression management
  • Drug therapies and behavioral interventions (exercise, diet and vitamin supplementation) for osteoporosis and osteopenia

The EPCs will review and analyze all the scientific literature relating to key questions under each topic, and will produce a set of high-quality reviews that concisely synthesize the evidence, clearly state conclusions about the evidence, and identify research gaps. The Resource Center will translate identified gaps into suggestions for priority studies to fill critical information gaps.

For more information, please contact AHRQ Public Affairs: (301) 427-1855 or (301) 427-1865.


 

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