Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

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The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) (formerly known as the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research), is a part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services which supports research designed to improve the outcomes and quality of health care, reduce its costs, address patient safety and medical errors, and broaden access to effective services. It sponsors, conducts, and disseminates research to helps people make more informed decisions and improve the quality of health care services.

AHRQ's mission is to improve the quality, safety, efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare for Americans. The Agency is led by director Carolyn Clancy, M.D.

Quality indicators

The agency defines Quality Indicators (QIs) [1] to measure health care quality based upon readily available hospital inpatient administrative data. These indicators consist of four modules measuring various aspects of quality:

  1. Prevention quality indicator (PQI) identify hospital admissions that evidence suggests could have been avoided, at least in part, through high-quality outpatient care.
  2. In-patient quality indicator (IQI) reflect quality of care inside hospitals including inpatient mortality for medical conditions and surgical procedures.
  3. Patient safety indicators (PSI) also reflect quality of care inside hospitals, but focus on potentially avoidable complications and iatrogenic events.
  4. Pediatric quality indicator include the above indicators related to the pediatric population.

In 2004, AHRQ expanded its support of health information technology initiatives by creating a National Resource Center for Health Information Technology and awarding more than $130 million in grants and contracts for various health information technology projects. The aim of the awards and resource center is to enhance the quality, safety, efficiency and effectiveness of health care through the use of technology.

Healthcare 411

AHRQ produces an audio newscast series to help keep people informed of the agency's latest health care research findings, news, and information. The audio programs feature current news and information from the Agency. AHRQ's mission is to improve the quality, safety, and effectiveness of health care for all Americans. They are the lead federal government agency in the effort to improve patient safety and reduce medical errors.


  1. [ AHRQ Qaulity indicator website]

See also

External Links

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