Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: Issues


The three categories of the government; local, state and national, in the United States carry out particular health programs directly. For instance, there are the state mental hospital, local government hospitals and federal department hospitals. In addition, being the channel where approximately half of the medical payment is paid, by gathering and dispersing health and medical services data, by training and teaching people unswervingly, by offering financial assistance to several private medical institutions and by playing the biggest role in the biomedical study, the government is intimately engaged with almost all medical services programs (Jonas, 2007, p. 14). In this case, this paper will examine issues regarding the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) which is a national or federal healthcare agency in the United States.

Overview on AHRQ

AHRQ is a US national agency in the Department of Health and Human/Social Services. The mission of AHRQ is to promote the quality, correctness, and potency of the medical care services, and contact to such services via extensive-based technological study and responsibilities to advance medical practices, the safety of the patient and the institution, funding or financing and Social/Human Services. AHRQ has established an arrangement of medical care information and study equipment, which can be utilized by researchers, program directors and other personnel at the local, state and national levels. An example of this equipment include the quality indicators (QIs) that utilize hospital management information to emphasize prospective quality matters, recognize fields that require additional research and

analysis and identify alterations over time. The QIs of AHRQ include; the patient safety, pediatric QIs, impatient QIs and prevention QIs. The AHRQ QIs refers to a group of quality indicators categorized into four groups and each QI determine the quality related to procedures of medical care, which happened in an impatient or an outpatient setting.

Relationship between AHRQ and other public health agencies

For AHRQ to ensure that the researches conducted assist in improving the health and medical care of the people in the US it partners with other health care agencies. They work in collaboration with the department or unit of Health and Human Services, private-sector organizations and other local, national and State agencies.

In order for any organization to grow and develop, it has to have a healthy relationship with other organizations within the same field of operation. Therefore, AHRQ has healthy relationships with other public health agencies like FDA which assist it in achieving or fulfilling its goals. For instance, AHRQ participated in the bioterrorism in collaboration with other public health agencies in emergency preparedness. In the bioterrorism activity, AHRQ responsibilities were as follows; evaluation of the teaching and data requirements to prepare society clinicians to examine, diagnose and take the appropriate measures in the management of the patients. Secondly, improvement and strengthening of associations and connectivity between the public health communications and the individual medical care provision system. In addition, evaluation of the readiness of medical care setting and hospitals, and the impact it has on results, cost and quality of health care.

Functions of AHRQ

The vision of AHRQ is to advance medical care via the generation and utilization of evidence. Consequently due to the efforts of AHRQ, the American medical care will offer health services of the best or highest excellence, with the most excellent probable results at the lowest price. Since AHRQ is a research based agency the researches conducted by the agency focus mostly on the patient rather than the particular disease. In addition, it centers on the effectiveness of the research system which is ideal or real on daily practices rather than ideal circumstances. Thus, the functions of AHRQ include serving as a center for the following activities; patient safety and quality improvement, funding, access and cost trends. In addition, it serves as a center for primary health care, prevention and partnership with other health care agencies, delivery and organization and markets. AHRQ also conducts evidence based practices, information dissemination, individual’s performance assessment, resource and technology responsibility and act as a center for extramural education, research and priority individuals (Smith, 2005, p.2).

Similarly, the ten centered portfolios for AHRQ include; data development, care management, health information technology, prevention, training, pharmaceutical results, long-term health care, bio-terrorism and system capacity. In addition, there is the cost, socio-economics and organizations concerns, safety and quality of the patient care.

The purpose of the functions of the pharmaceutical results is to advance and develop health results via efficient and safe utilization of the drugs or pharmaceuticals. In order for the AHRQ to ensure safe utilization of the drugs, they promote laboratory, epidemiological research and clinical research on pharmaceuticals, devices and biological products. In addition, AHRQ are engaged in discussion with the FDA in order for the agency to give or offer training on therapeutics programs.

The other function of the AHRQ involves evidence-based practice where systematic review, assessment and evaluations of medical or clinical trial and experimental information. The agency utilizes modern and innovative strategies like meta-regression and meta-analysis in order for it to carry out rigorous assessments of accessible technological information. In addition, the Evidence-based practice offers unbiased, autonomous, technological evaluations and research syntheses. For example, there are 13 centers that have been established concerning evidence-based practice which are situated at organizations in the Canada and US.

Similarly, under the function of patient safety, the agency recognizes the medical care hazards and risks that are harmful to the patient. The aim of the agency is to improve recognition of health hazards and risks of sick individuals from the provision of medical care. Secondly, is to increase the awareness for induced damage and injury.

AHRQ is also involved in reaching out to the specific populations who are at probable heightened risk for unfavorable consequences in the real globe setting. They use a set of practices of ambulatory primary care which are utilized to examine queries associated with community practice. This group of populations consists of low income earners, women, elderly, minority, children and individuals with disabilities, require permanent medical care and those who require chronic health care (Smith, 2005, p. 17).

Constituencies served by AHRQ

In the United States, AHRQ serves several states of constituencies which are as follows; Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Caroline, Ohio, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington State and Wisconsin. In the Arizona state, the program that is carried out is the kidscare program and the report is given to the directors and members of the AHRQ in order to evaluate on the performance of the program. In Michigan State, Medicaid program is conducted and the Medial Services Administrator (MSA) in Michigan utilizes the survey tools to carry out client or patient satisfaction investigations. In New York, they run the managed care program and the NY unit of Health utilizes performance measures to evaluate and advance the quality of health care and raise the responsibility all the managed care strategies that operate in the NY state (Rockville, 2006, par. 2-5).

Similarly, all the other programs that AHRQ runs in the other states are concerned with health and the departments of health within those states use performance measures in order to evaluate the quality of health care offered to the clients.

The structure of AHRQ

The structure of the AHRQ include several members who analysis data which has been collected from different stages of the healthcare. In addition, they evaluate whether the data is appropriate or not and recognize probable strategies for development. These members also help in the alterations concerning culture within the institution. The members are as follows; physician staff, nursing staff, material management director, pharmacists, nursing administration, director of quality development and clinical department chairs. In addition, it includes chief of the clinical personnel, medical director, chief of the HR (human resource), chief nursing officer, chief financial officer, chief operations officer and chief executive officer (Gabow, Eisert, Karkhanis, Knight & Dickson, 2005, p.7).

Source of funding for AHRQ

The AHRQ promotes study to advance health care quality, improve patient safety, minimize costs, increase accessibility to importance services and minimize medical errors. While directed or targeted financing rises in the current years which have led AHRQ to move in the appropriate direction, more key financing is required in order to assist AHRQ achieve its mission. In this case, funding for AHRQ comes from the following; the Friends of AHRQ who proposes an FY 2010 foundation financing of $405 million which is a rise of $32 million compared to the funding given for the FY 2009. This rise will maintain the current responsibilities of AHRQ and help the agency to achieve its target of $500 million by the year 2013.

Secondly, AHRQ is funded by the Congress who gave the agency $13 million over FY 2009. The Friends of AHRQ recommends that Congress should give extra financing in order to maintain and develop investigator pioneered grants for the AHRQ over FY 2010.

Source of regulatory control over AHRQ

THE Congress has offered the AHRQ the permission to report yearly on matters concerning medical care quality to the Nation. As a section of the P.L.106-129, the AHRQ obtained a congressional permission to generate a report yearly about the medical care quality to the Nation. The NHQR (National Healthcare Quality Report) will consist of an extensive group of productivity evaluations, which will be utilized to examine the on going or progress on the Nation toward development or improvement of the medical care quality. The roles of the NHQR include; showing the appropriateness of interest on health care quality, offering nationalized benchmarks against which particular States, medical strategies and health care personnel can compare their productivity or performance. In addition, recording whether medical care excellence is established, developing or reducing over time (Rockville, 2002, par. 1-2).


In conclusion, AHRQ’s aim is to promote studies whose purpose is to advance the results and improve the health care quality, improve patient safety, minimize health care costs and minimize medical errors. AHRQ is funded by different agencies in order to achieve its mission. Moreover, it offers services in different states or constituencies in the US and its regulatory powers comes from the Nation where it submits reports annually.

Reference List

Gabow, P., Eisert, S., Karkhanis, A., Knight, A. & Dickson, P. (2005). A Toolkit for Redesign in Health Care. Statistical Research Specialist AHRQ Publication. Web. 

Jonas, S. (2007). Introduction. An introduction to the United States health care system. Web. 

Rockville, M. (2006). Examples of How States Use Quality Measures. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Web.

Rockville, M. (2002). National Healthcare Quality Report Update on Current Status. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Web.

Smith, R. (2005). The Role of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) in the US Drug Safety System; Center for Outcomes & Evidence. Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality. Web.

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