Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) was established under the Department of Health and Human Services. As one of the twelve agencies under this department, AHRQ is mandated with the responsibility of conducting Health Outcomes Research in the United States of America. AHRQ, in collaboration with other agencies both local and international, and other stakeholders in the healthcare sector, ensures that the result of any healthcare service meets the quality it commands. To achieve this, AHRQ uses the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act guidelines to gauge the patient’s experience, preferences, and outcome of health care practices using scientific methods (Ellwood 1549 – 1556).
Since the cost of health care providers and services is increasing with each passing day, AHRQ has been mandated to streamline the health care provider services with a view of reducing the cost of health care. This they have to achieve without compromising the quality of health care received by patients and clients (Wennberg 312 – 322; Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, November 2011). However, carrying out Health Outcomes Research for the whole country is an enormous task. Thus, AHRQ usually sponsors several other institutions and researchers to carry out Health Outcomes Research studies after which they verify the results of such studies (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, May 2011).
Such useful information will serve nothing if they do not reach the common man on the ground or the medical practitioners and the various health care, stakeholders. AHRQ must then disseminate this information both locally and internationally if they have to achieve its goal of improving quality of life through the provision of quality health care. Moreover, disseminating such information would help save the lives of many Americans and the global community at large which is the mandate of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. It will also create awareness among the American population on the quality of health care they are supposed to receive and at what price.
That is, Americans will be able to get the right health care value at the right price. Being the regulator for Patient Safety Organizations AHRQ, through the Health Outcomes Research studies, ensures that the medical errors do rampant in the health care sector are minimized or eliminated whenever possible (Clancy and Eisenberg 245 – 246; Donabedian 3 part 2).
To achieve all these important goals aimed at improving the quality of health care services; AHRQ works with, among others, the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Established in 1887 but with roots dating back to the late 1790s (Harden), NIH also operates under the United States Department of Health and Human Services. With over twenty separate institutes and centers, NIH is tasked with research especially in the field of biomedicine and health in general. NIH operates more or less like AHRQ as it also sponsors and gives grants to various institutions and researchers to promote research.
With funds from the government after being approved by Congress (National Institutes of Health 23 May 2011), NIH then allocates the funds to those institutions championing quality scientific research and with diverse research topics (The NIH Almanac 25; Corbyn 12 – 14). Moreover, those institutions which focus primarily on the prevalence and prevention of diseases among the larger American population are also given funds by NIH (National Institutes of Health 15 March 2011).
To ensure that the American population and the world at large get quality health care services, NIH also funds the building and equipping of research laboratories and centers where Health Outcomes can be conducted using the latest scientific technology (Osterweil 15 – 20). Like AHRQ, NIH serves a variety of customers including patients, clinicians, hospitals, health care policymakers, and purchasers of medicine among others (U.S Joint Economic Committee Report 12 -17). All in all, despite the challenges faced by these agencies such as the controversy between AHRQ and the Congress on medical drugs guidelines (John 277 – 288), they have continued to dispense quality health care services to the general population at large.
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