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Horizon Scans

Overview May 15, 2012

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Healthcare Horizon Scanning System is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Its purpose is to conduct horizon scanning of emerging health care technologies and innovations in order to better inform patient-centered outcomes research investments at AHRQ through the Effective Health Care (EHC) Program. The Healthcare Horizon Scanning System provides AHRQ a systematic process to identify and monitor target technologies and innovations in health care and to create an inventory of target technologies that have the highest potential for impact on clinical care, the health care system, patient outcomes, and costs. It will also be a tool for the public to identify and find information on new health care technologies and interventions. Any investigator or funder of research will be able to use the AHRQ Healthcare Horizon Scanning System to select potential research topics.

AHRQ does not directly participate in horizon scanning or the assessment of leads or topics, nor does it provide opinions regarding the potential impact of interventions. The findings and conclusions in Healthcare Horizon Scanning System reports are those of the authors, who are responsible for its content, and do not necessarily represent the views of AHRQ. No statement in these reports should be construed as an official position of AHRQ or of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The Healthcare Horizon Scanning System produces reports and status updates from its activities organized around AHRQ’s 14 Priority Conditions. These include:

  • A detailed Protocol and Operations Manual for the AHRQ Healthcare Horizon Scanning System activities
  • Status Update Reports, which are revised every two months, provide a listing and brief description of topics identified through the scanning process and being tracked. The reports also lists topics that were identified but not tracked or that were archived during the prior two months
  • Individual Topic Profiles are written on interventions approaching diffusion into practice. These detailed reports identify and examine factors that are likely to influence the potential for diffusion and future use of the health care technology or innovation. Extended Topic Profiles are produced on an ad hoc basis in coordination with other research development activities in the Effective Health Care program as well as questions received from the program’s stakeholders. Potential High Impact Reports present information on the interventions which are expected to have the highest impact based on feedback on Topic Profiles from a variety of stakeholders. The Potential High Impact reports are revised and updated every six months.
  • A Systematic Review of the evidence for the most up-to-date methods for horizon scanning, including the identification, prioritization, assessment, and monitoring of target technologies in health care, thus allowing effective strategies to be appropriately incorporated into the AHRQ process in the future.

Project Timeline

Horizon Scanning Status Update

Dec 8, 2011
Topic Initiated
May 15, 2012
Aug 26, 2013
Oct 1, 2015
Oct 1, 2015
May 26, 2016
Page last reviewed December 2019
Page originally created November 2017

Internet Citation: Overview: Horizon Scans. Content last reviewed December 2019. Effective Health Care Program, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.

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