AHRQ’s COVID-19 Resources Provide Critical Support for Healthcare Professionals

By Gopal Khanna, MBA, Director of AHRQ
Twitter: @AHRQNews

In just a few months’ time, COVID-19 has turned our world upside down, presenting the Nation with a challenge not faced in generations. The pandemic has separated friends and family, led to job losses for tens of millions of Americans, and claimed the lives of tens of thousands.

As I emphasized in my recent blog post, Rising to the Historic Challenges of COVID-19, it’s vital to remember that the Nation has overcome enormous public health challenges before. And we will do so again. The solution lies in working together – and equipping the Nation’s healthcare professionals with the tools they need to confront the pandemic.

I’m pleased to announce an important new contribution to that effort: the AHRQ COVID-19 Resources webpage. This online repository provides digital access to a broad range of AHRQ-supported resources – from tools to support practice improvement, to relevant data analyses, to new COVID-19-related research findings from AHRQ grantees.

This new portal exemplifies how the Agency’s core competencies – health systems research, practice improvement, and data analytics – can uniquely empower health system leaders, providers, policymakers, and others as they allocate critical resources. More importantly, it aligns with AHRQ’s primary mission to protect and improve the health of all Americans. As with other initiatives, the COVID-19 resources are aimed squarely at making the Nation’s healthcare safe, effective, and high-value.

Allow me to point out a few highlights of this new resource:

  • The News and Announcements section provides links to research funding opportunities, AHRQ Views blog posts about the Agency’s COVID-19 activities, and examples of new AHRQ-funded research findings.
  • The Practice Improvement section offers access to a wide variety of tools to improve patient care. They include new publications on AHRQ’s Patient Safety Network (PSNet), including a primer on how to reduce risks to the elderly in long-term care, as well as a perspective on how telehealth can protect the safety of both patients and providers.
  • Also highlighted in the Practice Improvement section are practical toolkits to improve patient care. They include blueprints for expanding hospital surge capacity, improving safety through increased clinical teamwork, and re-engineering the hospital discharge process to reduce readmissions, which could be a valuable intervention for patients who have been hospitalized with COVID-19.
  • The Data and Analytics section connects researchers to guidance on how to use AHRQ’s premier data resources – the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) and the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) – to explore COVID-19’s impacts and potential strategies to curb its toll.
  • The section devoted to research and analyses includes findings, publications, and research notes on conditions that may be impacted by COVID-19 such as influenza and other respiratory illnesses, heart disease, stroke, renal failure, and other related conditions.

I look forward to sharing more information about how the Agency is helping the Nation rise to the challenge of addressing this pandemic, and our vision for how AHRQ can serve as a hub for health systems research, practice improvement, and data and analytics, including data to fill the gaps in knowledge we currently have about responding to public health threats.

In the interim, this new COVID-19 Resources webpage will help AHRQ quickly disseminate critical information that public health professionals, clinicians, and policymakers so desperately need to protect the health and well-being of the American people.

This article was originally published on AHRQ Views Blog and is republished here with permission.