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

About Online Continuing Education

Online continuing education promotes awareness and use of patient-centered outcomes research among practicing clinicians. This education gives clinicians access to important clinical data and patient-centered outcomes research findings from the Effective Health Care (EHC) Program, along with the clinical implications and rationale for using the research findings through proven educational methods.

Continuing Education Participants

Forty-five accredited continuing medical education/continuing education (CME/CE) modules will be offered to a variety of health care professionals who make clinical decisions on a regular basis. They include the following:

  • Physicians
  • Nurses
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Physician assistants
  • Pharmacists
  • Medical assistants
  • Health educators
  • Other allied health professionals

Education Modules

The CME/CE multimedia modules are based on patient-centered outcomes research findings from comparative effectiveness reviews funded by AHRQ’s EHC Program. The modules are designed to enhance and complement continuing education activities produced by AHRQ’s John M. Eisenberg Center for Clinical Decisions and Communications Science.

The 45 courses will be available by September 2012 and will cover topics from the EHC Program’s priority conditions such as heart and blood vessel disease, diabetes, depression, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, and others. Six of these courses are being developed in partnership with the Academic Detailing project, and three of the courses are live Web conferences for clinicians affiliated with the National Association of Free Clinics and are being developed in partnership with AHRQ’s National Initiative for Promoting Evidence-based Health Information.


Each course is accredited for CME/CE by the clinician’s respective accrediting association, such as the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education, the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, etc. The stringent accreditation standards require that the courses be developed by faculty who are experts in the relevant content field and peer reviewed for each discipline that is accredited.


Participants will be asked to complete post-program surveys at 60 days, 6 months, and 1 year after they complete a course. The data will measure changes in awareness of patient-centered outcomes research, self-reported use of the research in shared decisionmaking, perceived value of the information, and use of clinician and consumer guides on the topics offered.

Professional societies and associations such as the American Osteopathic Association, the National Association Directors of Nursing Administration in Long Term Care, and the Society of Hospital Medicine host links from their Web sites to the educational programs.

A Coordinated Effort in Translation, Dissemination, and Implementation

To complement the evidence translation and dissemination efforts undertaken by the John M. Eisenberg Center for Clinical Decisions and Communications Science, funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act are supporting four dissemination and implementation projects from September 2010 to September 2013: The National Initiative for Promoting Evidence-Based Health Information, Regional Partnership Development Offices, Online Continuing Education, and Academic Detailing. In addition, a separate Systematic Dissemination Program Evaluation project not only develops metrics and collects data for measuring the impact of each project, but also provides continuous feedback for ongoing project improvements. The Online Continuing Education contract was awarded to Prime, Inc.

Building on the translation products developed by the Eisenberg Center, these projects enhance the Effective Health Care Program’s capacity to promote the use of evidence-based health information and improve health care outcomes. Target audiences include consumers, patients, and caregivers; individual clinicians and their professional organizations; hospitals and integrated health systems; businesses and business organizations; academicians and researchers; Quality Improvement Organizations; policymakers; and advocates for better patient care. Special emphasis is placed on reaching priority populations, including minorities, seniors, low-income individuals, and people with limited access to health care.