EHC Program Topic Nomination and Selection
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's (AHRQ) Effective Health Care (EHC) Program accepts suggestions of topics for evidence reports from anyone. Representatives of major hospitals, clinicians, researchers, payers, and patients have all offered suggestions for new evidence reports.
How AHRQ Chooses Research Topics
All suggestions for evidence reports are carefully considered using the following factors to guide selection of topics for product development.
Appropriateness for the Evidence-based Practice Center Program
- Represents a health care intervention, including drugs, devices, medical tests, and mechanisms of health care delivery available in the United States
- The intended product of the nomination is an evidence report
- Represents a significant disease burden; affects a large proportion of the population
- Represents important uncertainty for decisionmakers
- Incorporates issues surrounding both clinical benefits and potential clinical harms
- Represents high costs due to common use, high unit costs, or high associated costs to consumers, patients, health care systems, or payers
Duplication with other evidence report efforts
Potential for redundancy (i.e., whether a proposed topic is already covered by an available or soon-to-be available high-quality evidence report by AHRQ or others)
Feasibility of a new evidence report
Effectively uses existing research and knowledge by considering adequacy (type and volume) of published literature for conducting an evidence synthesis and newly available evidence (particularly for updates or new technologies)
Potential impact of a new evidence report
- The standard of care is unclear because of conflicting or absent guidance, indicating a gap in information that may be addressed by an evidence report
- The topic’s uncertainty is related to practice variation which may be better addressed by implementation efforts rather than a new evidence report
Potential for change with a new evidence report
- The proposed topic exists within a clinical, consumer, or policymaking context that is amenable to evidence-based change
- A group could use the proposed evidence report to influence clinical practice
AHRQ's Topic Nomination Process Illustrated
How AHRQ Works with Topic Nominators
During the topic development process
AHRQ may contact the topic nominator to ask additional clarifying questions about the research questions posed in the nomination and its scope if the nominator provides permission to contact him or her.
After a topic is selected
- To help ensure that the evidence report produces information that can be used in practice, AHRQ wants to work with the nominator and others who are concerned about the topic.
- AHRQ may contact the nominators to ask for them to submit public comments at several key stages of the evidence report, which may include the review scope, protocol, and draft report. The time commitment is limited but critical to ensuring that the report is useful.