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AHRQ--Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: Advancing Excellence in Health Care
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Research Topic Development

Developing relevant topics for research is a key aspect of the EHC Program. Topic identification creates the framework for all of our research. However, it is not easy. Researchers spend their careers trying to identify meaningful questions, and funding agencies continually seek to maximize the return on their investment by funding research on important, answerable questions. 

The EHC Program is committed to enhancing opportunities for consumers, policymakers, practitioners and others to be involved in determining topics for research. We are looking for organizations that may be interested in working with EHC staff on topic nomination as well as improving our research. Individuals or organizations interested in suggesting research can most easily do so through the EHC Web site:

Organizations interested in broadening their involvement in topic nomination should contact Pam Curtis at

We seek to develop research topics that will be of broad interest and will meet the needs of people receiving care under the Medicare, Medicaid and other Federal health care programs, such as the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). The EHC Program places an emphasis on the following factors:

  • Burden of disease including severity, incidence and/or prevalence, as well as whether the organizational/financial implications of research are relevant to the general population and/or AHRQ's priority populations, which include:
    1. Low-income groups.
    2. Minority groups.
    3. Women.
    4. Children.
    5. The elderly.
    6. Individuals who have special health care needs, such as those with disabilities, those who need chronic care or end-of-life health care, or who live in inner-city and rural areas.
  • Controversy or uncertainty about the topic and availability of scientific data to support the systematic review and analysis.
  • Total costs associated with a condition, procedure, treatment, technology, or organizational/financial topic, whether due to the number of people needing care, the unit cost of care, or indirect costs.
  • Potential impact for reducing clinically significant variations in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, or management of a disease or condition, or in the use of a procedure or technology; potential impact for informing and improving patient and/or professional decision-making, improving health outcomes, and/or reducing costs.
  • Relevance to the needs of the Medicare, Medicaid, and other Federal health care programs.