A guide to this supplement
In 1997, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) initiated a network of North American Evidence-based Practice Centers (EPCs). The EPC staff and collaborators have the following assets: clinical expertise; knowledge of research design; critical appraisal skills; knowledge of bibliographic sources and searching techniques; and multiple analytic skills, including meta-analysis, decision analysis, and cost-effectiveness analysis. The Agency charged EPCs to synthesize information important for the effective and efficient practice of medicine and public health. It asked EPCs to help clinicians, providers, and health plans improve quality of health care by conducting state-of-the-art syntheses of scientific information.
The EPCs produce multiple products for many decision makers. The main product is an evidence report or technology assessment that is designed to address the needs of users. The evidence report may serve as the scientific foundation for public- and private-sector organizations to develop tools and strategies for improving the quality of health care services that they provide. Some technology assessments, such …