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Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2007 Dec;33(12 Suppl):27-36.

Evaluating the impact of partnerships to improve clinical quality.

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Center for Research & Innovation in Patient Care, School of Nursing, University of California, San Francisco, USA.



Translating research into practice and policy is a complex process that links the research enterprise and health care delivery system of the United States. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Partnerships for Quality (PFQ) initiative expanded the scope of research translation beyond clinical practice, highlighting the role of strategic partners. A work group of AHRQ grantees developed a framework for systematic evaluation of the impact of strategic partnerships on research translation.


The evaluation framework posits a hierarchy of impacts that cumulatively lead to observable patient outcomes. The evaluation framework captures (1) health care outcomes improvement, (2) clinical practice changes, (3) policies, procedures, and protocols, and (4) research and knowledge. After the framework and tool were subjected to face-validity critique among PFQ investigators, the concept of synergy was added. PFQ investigators pilot-tested the evaluation framework, and the PFQ tool was refined further.


Early feedback from PFQ grantees suggested that the framework is generalizable and potentially useful to guide investigators in capturing impacts of their work that might otherwise go unrecognized or trivialized.


The PFQ Evaluation Tool, a pragmatic approach for evaluating the impact of partnership-driven translation projects, provides a comprehensive evaluation of impacts, including synergistic outcomes.

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