The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), through its Evidence-based Practice Centers (EPCs), sponsors the development of evidence reports and technology assessments to assist public- and private-sector organizations in their efforts to improve the quality of health care in the United States. The reports and assessments provide organizations with comprehensive, science-based information on common, costly medical conditions, and new health care technologies and strategies. The EPCs systematically review the relevant scientific literature on topics assigned to them by AHRQ and conduct additional analyses when appropriate prior to developing their reports and assessments.

An important part of evidence reports is to not only synthesize the evidence, but also to identify the gaps in evidence that limited the ability to answer the systematic review questions. AHRQ supports EPCs to work with various stakeholders to identify and prioritize the future research that decisionmakers need. This information is provided for researchers and funders of research in these Future Research Needs papers. These papers are made available for public comment and use and may be revised.

AHRQ expects that the EPC evidence reports and technology assessments will inform individual health plans, providers, and purchasers as well as the health care system as a whole by providing important information to help improve health care quality. The evidence reports undergo public comment prior to their release as a final report.

We welcome comments on this Future Research Needs document. They may be sent by mail to the Task Order Officer named below at: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 540 Gaither Road, Rockville, MD 20850, or by email to vog.shh.qrha@cpe.

Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D.

Director

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Stephanie Chang, M.D., M.P.H.

Director, EPC Program

Center for Outcomes and Evidence

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Jean Slutsky, P.A., M.S.P.H.

Director, Center for Outcomes and Evidence

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Elisabeth Kato, M.D.

Task Order Officer

Center for Outcomes and Evidence

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality