Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Welcome to

Effective Health Care Program

The Effective Health Care Program funds individual researchers, research centers, and academic organizations to work together with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to produce effectiveness and comparative effectiveness research for clinicians, consumers, and policymakers. AHRQ is the lead Federal agency charged with improving the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care for all Americans. As one of 12 agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services, AHRQ supports health services research that will improve the quality of health care and promote evidence-based decisionmaking.

The Effective Health Care Program:

  • Reviews and synthesizes published and unpublished scientific evidence.
  • Generates new scientific evidence and analytic tools.
  • Compiles research findings that are synthesized and/or generated and translates them into useful formats for various audiences.

The Effective Health Care Program produces three primary products:

  • Research reviews: These comprehensive reports draw on completed scientific studies to make head-to-head comparisons of different health care interventions. They also show where more research is needed.

    There are two types of research reviews:
    1. Comparative effectiveness and effectiveness reviews outline the effectiveness — or benefits and harms — of treatment options.
    2. Technical briefs explain what is known — and what is not known — about new or emerging health-care tests or treatments.
  • Original research reports: These reports are based on clinical research and studies that use health-care databases and other scientific resources and approaches to explore practical questions about the effectiveness — or benefits and harms — of treatments.
  • Summary guides: These short, plain-language guides — tailored to clinicians, consumers, or policymakers — summarize the findings of research reviews on the benefits and harms of different treatment options. Consumer guides provide useful background information on health conditions. Clinician and policymaker guides rate the strength of evidence behind a report’s conclusions. The guides on medications also contain basic wholesale price information.


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