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Attention researchers: Do you have a story to tell? If so, AHRQ needs you

Nobel Prize winner Sir Peter Brian Medawar said it best: "Among scientists are collectors, classifiers and compulsive tidiers-up; many are detectives by temperament and many are explorers, some are artists and others artisans." Whether you're an artist at algorithms, classifier of clinical outcomes, or explorer of evidence-based medicine, your help is needed with the Agency's Impact Case Studies Program.

Now in its 8th year, the Impact Case Studies Program systematically catalogues the impact AHRQ research has on outcomes, quality, cost, use, and access. The goal is to track the impact of AHRQ research in a way the public can both understand and appreciate.

These impact case studies are not journal articles, research summaries, or even abstracts. They are one- to two-page briefs that describe, in layman's terms, how AHRQ-funded research is being used by government (Federal, State, and local); individual clinicians, practices, clinics, and hospitals; insurance companies; professional associations; and schools of public health and medicine. As such, impact case studies tell a story about how AHRQ research is used daily by clinicians, policymakers, and patients; in other words, they explain the impact of health services research.

Case studies help us explain how public funds are being used to improve health care for all Americans. We gather this information for use in Congressional testimony, Agency budget documents, and other key materials.

You, the researcher, are often our best source of leads and contact information. Your assignment is simple—tell us how findings from your AHRQ-supported research have been put to use. All we need is the name of a user and a brief description of how the research is being used. We'll take it from there. We follow up with the user, prepare a summary or "impact case study," and send it through a clearance process to ensure the information is accurate and clearly stated.

AHRQ's Impact Case Studies Program is helping the Agency tell its story while generating a broader discussion of impact among health services researchers. With publication of the 100th case study this winter, the Impact Case Studies program has reached an important milestone. We need your help as we work toward the next 100 case studies. If you have a lead to pass along, please contact your AHRQ project officer or Jane Steele at (301) 427-1243, or by E-mail at JSteele@ahrq.gov.

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