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2020 EPC Program Year in Review

Download 2020 EPC Year in Review (PDF, 1.9 MB).

EPC Mission: Transform healthcare by increasing the quality, availability, and use of evidence via scientifically rigorous and unbiased analysis of evidence


2020 Summary


  • Federal Partners: 12
  • Non-Federal Partners: 10
  • 100% of Partners Recommend EPC Reports

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Public Interest

  • Listserv Members: 108,735
  • Topics Nominated: 33

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EPC Reports in Use*

*External products or decisions should not be construed as an official position of AHRQ.


2020 Details

2020 Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Coverage Decision

Topic: New Medicare Coverage of Acupuncture for Low Back Pain

2020 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) Coverage Decisions

Why: Chronic pain is the leading cause of disability in the United States and globally. Many interventions are available to manage chronic pain, and evidence was needed to understand their effectiveness to inform choices.

How: The AHRQ EPC report, commissioned by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), summarized available evidence on treatments for chronic pain that did not involve surgery or drugs.

Who: As many as 1 in 5 Americans have chronic pain, and the most common type of chronic pain is low back pain. Out-of-pocket payments for pain treatment in the United States is about $600 billion per year.

(Link to All Coverage Decisions: CMS Coverage Decisions)


2020 Research Prioritization

Topic: New Research Agenda for Health Equity in Preventive Services

New Research Agenda for Health Equity in Preventive Services

Why: Health equity is defined as the attainment of the highest level of health for all people. Evidence was needed to identify research gaps and to develop an actionable strategy aimed at achieving health equity in preventive services.

How: The AHRQ EPC report, commissioned by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Disease Prevention, examined effects of barriers that create health disparities in recommended preventive services for adults and the effectiveness of interventions to reduce them.

Who: Disadvantaged populations in the United States seeking preventive care, including racial and ethnic minority populations, populations with low socioeconomic status, underserved rural populations, sexual and gender minority populations, and/or other populations subject to discrimination.


2020 Clinical Trial Database

Topic: Updated Database of PTSD Trials

Updated Database of PTSD Trials

Why: Evidence was needed to update and expand the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Repository to help patients, clinicians, researchers, and policymakers find data on treatment effectiveness and harms, and identify research gaps and priorities.

How: The AHRQ EPC report, commissioned by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD (NCPTSD), updated the PTSD-Repository and including new studies, including those targeting comorbid PTSD/substance use disorder (SUD) and adding data elements.

Who: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) significantly impacts health and quality of life, and affects about 6.1% percent of US civilians and 6.9% of U.S. military veterans.


2020 Clinical Guidance and Resource Impact Snapshot

Topics: New COVID-19 Resources and Practice Guidance
New COVID-19 Resources and Practice Guidance

Why: Health systems, clinicians, policymakers, and the public need evidence to inform critical decisions about how to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and stem the loss of human life.

How: The AHRQ EPC Program rapidly summarized available evidence on efforts to control the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in four rapid reviews (focused on resource allocation and pandemic response, masks, no-touch modalities, and chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine use for treatment or prevention [review and practice guidance]), as well as one paper summarizing the evidence for telehealth.

Who: The COVID-19 pandemic has led not only to widespread illness and disability, but also to a dramatic loss of human life worldwide. In addition, it has overwhelmed health systems, reducing available care for those with other healthcare needs as well.


2020 Clinical Guidance Impact Snapshot

Topic: New Focused Updates to the Asthma Management Guidelines

New Focused Updates to the Asthma Management Guidelines

Why: Asthma guidelines were outdated and updating was critical in light of important advancements and new treatments in the last 13 years for both childhood and adult asthma.

How: Five AHRQ EPC reports informed the new guidelines. These reports, sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), focused on improving asthma diagnosis, medications to treat asthmaimmunotherapy, bronchial thermoplasty, and reducing allergens and asthma triggers.

Who: According to the CDC, 1 in 12 Americans or about 25 million people (including 5.5 million children) have asthma, and nearly 3,500 people, mostly adults, die from asthma each year. Asthma is already the most common cause of disability in childhood, and rates of asthma among children are increasing.


Full List of 2020 Clinical Guidance

Clinical Guidelines Associated Systematic Review(s) (Year Published)
Asthma Management Guidelines: Focused Updates 2020 The Clinical Utility of Fractional Exhaled Nitric Oxide (FeNO) in Asthma Management,
Effectiveness and Safety of Bronchial Thermoplasty in Management of Asthma,
Effectiveness of Indoor Allergen Reduction in Management of Asthma,
Role of Immunotherapy in the Treatment of Asthma, and
Effectiveness of Indoor Allergen Reduction in Management of Asthma (2017)
Clinical Practice Guideline for the Assessment and Treatment of Children and Adolescents With Anxiety Disorders Anxiety in Children (2017)
Should Clinicians Use Chloroquine or Hydroxychloroquine Alone or in Combination With Azithromycin for the Prophylaxis or Treatment of COVID-19? Living Practice Points From the American College of Physicians Hydroxychloroquine or Chloroquine for Treatment or Prophylaxis of COVID-19: A Living Systematic Review (2020)
Therapies for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Exacerbations in Adults (Practice Pointers) Pharmacologic and Nonpharmacologic Therapies in Adult Patients With Exacerbation of COPD (2019)
Use of N95, Surgical, or Cloth Masks to Prevent COVID-19 in Health Care and Community Settings: Living Practice Points From the American College of Physicians Masks for Prevention of COVID-19 in Community and Healthcare Settings: A Living Rapid Review (2020)


2020 Healthcare Research Reports

Links to All Reports: Covid-19 Resources, Technology Assessment Reports, Effective Healthcare Reports

2020 Healthcare Research Manuscripts From EPC Reports

2020 Healthcare Research Manuscripts From Grants

2020 Healthcare Research Presentations

2020 Methodology Reports

Link to All Reports: Methods Reports

2020 Methodology Manuscripts From EPC Contracts

2020 Methodology Manuscripts From Grants

New Reports Started in 2020

  • Association of Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) on Outcomes for Women and Children.
  • Breast Reconstruction after Mastectomy.
  • Diagnostic Errors in the Emergency Department.
  • Disparities and Barriers for Pediatric Cancer Survivorship Care.
  • The Evidence Base for Telehealth: Reassurance in the Face of Rapid Expansion During the COVID-19 Pandemic.
  • Immunity after COVID-19.
  • Integrated Pain Management Programs and Multidisciplinary, Multi-modal Treatment Models.
  • Interventional Treatments for Acute and Chronic Pain (Special Topics).
  • Interventions to Decrease Hospital Length of Stay.
  • Improving Rural Health Through Telehealth-Guided Provider-to-Provider Communication.
  • Living Systematic Review on Plant-based Treatment for Chronic Pain.
  • Malnutrition in Hospitalized Adults.
  • Management Strategies for Infantile Epilepsy.
  • Masks for Prevention of COVID-19 in Community and Healthcare Settings: A Living Rapid Review.
  • Models of Pediatric-Adolescent Cancer Survivorship Care that includes Primary Care.
  • No-Touch Modalities for Disinfecting Patient Rooms in Acute Care Settings: A Rapid Review.
  • Prehabilitation and Rehabilitation for Major Joint Replacement Surgery.
  • Prehospital Airway Management.
  • Safety of Vaccines Used for Routine Immunization in the United States.
  • The Use of Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine for Prophylaxis and Treatment of COVID-19.
  • Transitions of Care from Pediatric to Adult Services for Children with Special Healthcare Needs.

New Grants Awarded in 2020

  • Addressing Opioid Use Disorder in Older Adults through Primary Care Innovation (OUD-PCI) (R18HS027913-01; PI: Crawford)
  • Methods Symposium: Advanced Methods and Innovative Technologies for Evidence Synthesis (R13HS027701-01; PI: Li)
  • Strengthening Research on Complex Health Interventions: State-of-the-Art Conference (R13HS027297-01; PI: Mittman)


Page last reviewed March 2021
Page originally created March 2021

Internet Citation: 2020 EPC Program Year in Review. Content last reviewed March 2021. Effective Health Care Program, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.

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