works are established across the United States, providing an outstanding resource on which AHRQ can draw to assist in the implementation of the clinical information systems, data standards, patient safety reporting systems, and other components of the NHII.
The IDSRN was initiated by AHRQ in September 2000 with the purpose of linking researchers and large health care delivery systems. It is made up of nine partners, selected because they provide health care services to large populations in a variety of organizational settings. Each partner is working with several collaborators, including other health care systems, research institutions, and managed care organizations, to conduct research within their integrated delivery systems and then disseminate the scientific evidence obtained (i.e., organizational best practices related to care delivery) to the entire network. The ISDRN also includes researchers and sites that are testing ways to adapt and apply existing knowledge to care delivery. To date, 44 IDSRN projects have been funded covering a wide range of topics, including quality measurement and improvement, bioterrorism, information technology, organization and financing, and disparities in access to care. The efforts of the EPCs, IDSRN, and others, including the Cochrane Collaboration (Cochrane Collaboration, 2003) and the ACP Journal Club (American College of Physicians, 2003), are excellent models and provide the building blocks for a more comprehensive effort to address the 20 priority areas identified by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) that account for the bulk of health care services (Institute of Medicine, 2003).
AHRQ’s Centers for Education and Research on Therapeutics (CERTs) program is a national initiative to conduct research and provide education on the benefits and risks of new, existing, or combined uses of therapeutics (drugs, medical devices, biologics) (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2002). The CERTs program has three primary aims: (1) to increase awareness of both the uses and risks of new drugs and drug combinations, biological products, and devices, as well as of mechanisms to improve their safe and effective use; (2) to provide clinical information to patients and consumers, health care providers, pharmacists and pharmacy benefit managers and purchasers, health maintenance organizations and health care delivery systems, insurers, and government agencies; and (3) to improve quality while reducing cost of care by increasing the appropriate use of drugs, medical devices, and biological products and by preventing their adverse effects and the consequences of those effects (such as unnecessary hospitalizations) (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2002). Because adverse drug events (ADEs) are one of the most common types of patient safety event, use of AHRQ’s expertise in evaluating information and dis-