AHRQ renews contract with ECRI Institute to maintain clearinghouses

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has renewed the contract for the ECRI Institute to maintain two databases of evidence-based clinical practice guidelines and healthcare quality measures.

Combined, the National Guideline Clearinghouse and National Quality Measures Clearinghouse receive more than 3.4 million visits annually. ECRI Institute, an independent nonprofit that researches the best approaches to patient care, has maintained both clearinghouses since their inception.

The clearinghouses provide a standard format for the reported material, making the data easy to retrieve and compare, according to an announcement.

The National Guideline Clearinghouse, created in 1997, provides detailed information on clinical practice guidelines. The National Quality Measures Clearinghouse followed in 2001. The two organizations plan to implement more rigorous inclusion criteria for the two databases to ensure the data presented there is scientifically sound.  

ECRI Institute will continue to work with subcontractors on the two projects: RAND Corp., Harvard School of Public Health, Tufts Medical Center, and The Joint Commission, and IT subcontractor, Silverchair Information Systems.

The AHRQ, the lead federal agency on quality within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in May announced plans to research how to best collect and use patient-reported health data such as medical histories, symptoms and results of self-testing. It's focused on more widely disseminating knowledge gained from research and putting research into practice.

The ECRI Institute perhaps is best known for its annual Top 10 list of health IT hazards. It's been warning of the dangers of alarm fatigue – an issue the Joint Commission has raised – which topped the ECRI Institute again this year.

To learn more:
- here's the announcement
- find the National Guideline Clearinghouse
- check out the National Quality Measures Clearinghouse

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