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AHCPR Offers Internet Access to Key Information for Consumers and Health Care Community
Press Release Date: February 28, 1996
The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research today launched its World Wide Web site, making available a wealth of practical, science-based health care information in one convenient place. The AHCPR page joins other HHS agencies on the Web, providing easy access to health information.
The new Web site—located at http://www.ahrq.gov—features information to help consumers and their health care practitioners make informed health care decisions; research on what works best in health care; and other
information and data central to AHCPR's mission to enhance the quality, cost-effectiveness and delivery of health care services.
"AHCPR's health care information has been proven to benefit consumers, health care practitioners and providers, health insurers, researchers and policymakers," said AHCPR Administrator Clifton R. Gaus, Sc.D. "The agency's Web site now offers these audiences an electronic directory of key data and information through the Internet."
Visitors to the AHCPR home page (the "title" page of the Web site) can get an overview of the Web site by clicking on the "welcome" button.
Six buttons correspond to major categories of available holdings on the Web site: Offices/Centers, News & Resources, Research Portfolio, Data & Methods, Guidelines & Medical Outcomes, and Consumer Health. There is also an Electronic Catalog to the more than 450 information products generated by AHCPR, with information on how to obtain these resources.
The Consumer Health section includes the consumer versions of AHCPR-supported clinical practice guidelines—information to help consumers and their families make informed decisions about preventing or treating common health conditions such as depression, pain after surgery, cataract and acute low back problems. Consumers also have access to information to help them make decisions about whether and when to have elective surgery (from the recently released brochure Be Informed: Questions To Ask Your Doctor Before You Have Surgery).
"Expanding quick access to these products furthers AHCPR's efforts to empower consumers with the information they need to participate in their own health care and to maneuver in an increasingly complex health care system," said Dr. Gaus.
Also featured on the new Web site are electronic versions of the 17 clinical practice guidelines AHCPR has supported and released thus far. These items were previously made available only through the National Library of Medicine.
"We expect these offerings to be popular based on our experience so far. Recently, we have averaged about 100,000
electronic accesses to the text of these guidelines per month. In addition to usage across the United States, about 50 foreign countries also have accessed the guidelines on the Internet," according to Dr. Gaus.
For policymakers, researchers and health care payers, the Web site offers unique data from AHCPR's surveys and studies that relate to the use and cost of hospital care, HIV/AIDS and national medical expenditures. In addition, online newsletters look at research activities in the areas of health services, medical outcomes and health technology.
General organizational information on the agency also is featured, including program contacts, research funding
opportunities, fact sheets, speeches and press releases.
The Web site, a dynamic information outlet, will include new materials as they become available. These include practical health care advice for consumers, important initiatives of the agency to provide quality of care measures for health care organizations and employers, relevant information tools for clinicians, and improved methods for health services research.
Researchers, policymakers, health care providers, consumers and the media helped evaluate a test Web site and provided feedback on content, presentation and ease of use prior to today's official release.
AHCPR Web site users can send technical questions and comments for agency staff via an E-mail address,
https://info.ahrq.gov, or call Gerri Michael-Dyer at (301) 427-1898. This feedback will help to improve Web holdings as the site evolves.
For additional information, contact AHCPR Public Affairs: Salina Prasad, (301) 427-1864.