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

Comparative Effectiveness News

July 2010
Volume 2, Issue 4

Building the Foundation: Research Methods for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research

Construction worker laying foundation

This issue of Comparative Effectiveness News demonstrates AHRQ’s commitment to the development and dissemination of quality research methods.

Research methods serve as the foundation of AHRQ’s Effective Health Care (EHC) Program. Behind each of the many reports and systematic reviews created by the Program are hundreds of critical decisions that AHRQ-funded researchers must make about how to consider and coordinate disparate sets of data so that valid and useable conclusions can be drawn. Well-developed methods enable EHC Program reports to become trustworthy and actionable assessments of benefits and harms across multiple subpopulations for a wide variety of conditions.

The research methods are constantly being refined and broadly disseminated through a variety of channels. The various methods projects are intended to ensure a high level of transparency, consistency, and scientific rigor across the findings reported by the EHC Program.

New Methods Guide Chapter Focuses on Observational Studies for Systematic Reviews 

A newly published chapter of the Methods Guide for Effectiveness and Comparative Effectiveness Reviews offers a conceptual framework for Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) researchers who are considering observational studies to determine the benefits of pharmacotherapeutic, device, or procedural interventions. Read the full story.

Methods Symposium Papers Published

Papers originally presented at the June 2009 invitational symposium on research methods for clinical and comparative effectiveness studies have now been published in the June 2010 supplemental issue of the journal Medical Care. Read the full story.

Education Modules Provide Instruction to New Researchers on Reviewing Evidence

To help train new generations of researchers in the methods used to conduct systematic reviews, the EHC Program recently contracted with four Evidence-based Practice Centers (EPCs) to create training modules based on chapters from the EHC Program Methods Guide for Effectiveness and Comparative Effectiveness Reviews. Read the full story.