AHRQ is the lead agency within DHHS charged with supporting research on health care quality, outcomes, cost, utilization, and access. The agency supports intramural research as well as an extramural grants program with a budget of $269.9 million (FY 2001 appropriation) (www.ahrq.gov). Nearly 80 percent of AHRQ’s budget is awarded as grants and contracts to researchers at universities and other research institutions. Support for intramural and extramural cancer-related health services research grants active since FY 1999 totals $5.2 million, roughly $1.7 million per year. An additional $650,000 was awarded to support the update of the smoking cessation guideline (FYs 1998 to 2001), nearly $1 million in contracts was awarded to support evidence-based practice reports (FYs 1999 to 2001), and $1 million in contracts was awarded in support of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (FYs 1999 to 2001) (Wendy Perry, Agency for Health Care Policy and Research [AHCPR], personal communication to Maria Hewitt, Institute of Medicine, August 7, 2001).
Ongoing extramural research grants supported by AHCPR active since FY 1999 are listed in Table 10.4.
Evidence-Based Practice Centers AHRQ’s 13 Evidence-Based Practice Centers conduct systematic, comprehensive analyses and syntheses of the scientific literature to develop evidence-based reports and technology assessments on clinical topics that are common and expensive and that present challenges to decision makers (www.ahcpr.gov/clinic/epc11.htm). Since December 1998, more than 30 evidence-based reports have been released. Cancer-related topics have included modification of dietary behavior related to cancer risk, cervical cytology, advanced prostate cancer, and management of pain associated with cancer (www.ahrq.gov/about/ahrqfact.htm). Forthcoming analyses will include assessments of the impact of cancer-related decision aids and the diffusion and dissemination of evidence-based cancer-related information, both of which will be funded by NCI (W. Perry, personal communication to Maria Hewitt, August 3, 2001).
National Guideline Clearinghouse AHRQ no longer develops treatment guidelines, but in 2000 it served as part of a consortium of seven federal government and nonprofit organizations that issued guidelines published by the U.S. Public Health Service, Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence, an update of a 1996 Agency for Health Care Policy and Research clinical practice guideline on smoking cessation (US DHHS, 2000a). AHRQ