AHRQ Releases PHR Handbook and Seeks Comments

AHRQ Funds Projects for Health IT

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is an agency under the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). AHRQ’s health IT initiative is part of the Nation’s strategy to put information technology to work in health care. Through this initiative the agency has funded over $300 million to over 200 awardees in contracts and grants throughout 48 Stages to promote access to and encourage the adoption of health IT. In addition, AHRQ developed project success stories to highlight exemplary Health IT Portfolio-funded projects that demonstrate positive impact on health care outcomes.

Last week AHRQ released a new handbook for providers which offers guidance on the implementation of interactive preventive health records (IPHRS), An Interactive Preventive Care Record: A Handbook for Using Patient-Centered Personal Health Records To Promote Prevention. The guide introduces you to using personal health records (PHRs) to promote prevention, preparing your practice to use a PHR for promoting prevention, and implementing and sustaining the use of a PHR for prevention. It is based on lessons learned from 14 different practices using 3 different EHR systems.

AHRQ reported that a “recent article published in the Annals of Family Medicine found that IPHR users were more likely to be up-to-date on all preventive services than non-users, especially for screening tests and immunizations”. It also stated that the study findings showed, “an IPHR and similar systems can improve important patient outcomes, such as the delivery of evidence-based preventive care”.

In other AHRQ news, the agency is seeking comments through August 20 on ways to improve quality measurement through health IT. A Request for Information (RFI) on Quality Measurement Enabled by Health IT was issued and published in the Federal Register. The RFI seeks “ideas and input from the public across diversified stakeholder groups on successful strategies and remaining challenges in the creation of health IT-enabled quality measure development and reporting”. For more information see their report, An Environmental Snapshot— Quality Measurement Enabled by Health IT: Overview, Challenges, and Possibilities.