(Cochrane USA), Jean Slutsky (AHRQ Effective Health Care Program), Naomi Aronson (BCBSA TEC)


The objective of this panel discussion is to learn how these leading organizations prioritize their efforts to conduct systematic reviews on clinical effectiveness. UnitedHealthcare is one of the nation’s largest health plans with an estimated 22 million covered lives. The Cochrane Collaboration is an international, not-for-profit organization that produces and disseminates systematic reviews of health care interventions. AHRQ’s Effective Health Care Program is the leading federal agency charged with systematically reviewing and synthesizing evidence on clinical effectiveness. BCBSA TEC, an AHRQ-designated Evidence-based Practice Center, is a highly respected source of evidence-based assessments of the clinical effectiveness of medical procedures, devices, and drugs.

Questions for the Panelists

  1. How do you identify topics? Please provide a detailed outline of your approach, using, for example, last year’s topics.

  2. How would you characterize the yield from your efforts to identify topics? Does it capture a broad spectrum of services? What about surgical procedures? Existing services? Behavioral health? Disease management? Children’s health?

  3. What are your criteria for selecting topics and how are the criteria implemented (e.g., through a formal process and quantitative method)?

  4. Do you have a mechanism for picking up missed but important topics? How often (in retrospect) has your horizon scanning failed to identify a key service? Consider the past two years in answering this question.

  5. How do you rank priorities? Please be specific as to the criteria used. How many of the priority topics are addressed each year?

  6. What factors, if any, can override already determined priorities?

  7. Has this approach worked well given your objectives? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the process?

  8. What resources are involved in this activity (e.g., staff time, special committee responsibility, conferences)?



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