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AHRQ partners with others to use information technology to put evidence-based care recommendations into the hands of clinicians

Evidence-based care recommendations developed with support from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality can be downloaded, uplinked, incorporated into software, or sent out as alerts. As new technologies continue to emerge, AHRQ will continue identifying ways to put science directly into clinicians' hands to improve the quality of everyday care, says AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D., in a recent article. Dr. Clancy points out that AHRQ's research portfolio now includes more than 150 studies in medical informatics and information technology, and partnerships with technology vendors have been the cornerstone of numerous AHRQ initiatives.

The Agency's first technology partnership was established when ePocrates, a handheld physician network, agreed to publish ePocrates DocAlert® messages featuring recommendations from the AHRQ-supported U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF)—an independent panel of experts in preventive medicine—and other AHRQ research. DocAlert® messages deliver clinical news such as medication safety alerts, customized information on medical specialties, and USPSTF recommendations directly to clinicians' personal digital assistants (PDAs). AHRQ also partners with Clinical Content Consultants LLC to incorporate the latest Task Force recommendations in its Prevention Encounter Form software, which provides clinical decision support prompts that automatically alert the provider when preventive services are due and allows for easy documentation and tracking.

Another example is AHRQ's partnership with InfoPOEMs®, Inc. (Patient-Oriented Evidence that Matters), which produces daily E-mails to healthcare professionals alerting them to the latest developments in clinical research. These infoPOEMs® can also be accessed through InfoRetriever®, an online database system that provides a full scope of information from decision-support tools to diagnostic calculators, and from clinical practice guidelines to Cochrane Systematic Review abstracts. InfoRetriever® is also available as a PDA application.

See "AHRQ: A tradition of evidence," by Dr. Clancy in the August 2003 Health Management Technology 24(8), pp. 26-29.

Reprints (AHRQ Publication No. 03-R065) are available from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse.

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