Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D.: Leveraging research into healthcare quality, costs, outcomes, and patient safety


Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D.: Leveraging research into healthcare quality, costs, outcomes, and patient safety

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009 - 18:01
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"The mission of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality is to improve the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of healthcare for all Americans."

The U.S. spends more on healthcare than any other nation, yet numerous studies have found that there is reall y no relationshipbetween spending and the quality of care. “I think the best definition of healthcare quality is the right care, for the right patient, at the right time, every time,” says Clancy. For Clancy, it is critical to make sure that “what we do for patients matches their needs and preferences and actually helps them to get on with their lives.” Comparative effectiveness research (CER )—systematic research that compares different interventions and strategies to prevent, diagnose, treat and monitor health conditions—offers much promise.

According to Dr. Clancy, the purpose of this research is to inform patients, providers, and decision makers by responding to their needs about which interventions are most effective for patients under specific circumstances. The Recovery Act allocated about 1.1 billion dollars for CER , with some $300 million allocated to AHRQ’s already-established CER portfolio.

“We live in a very exciting time,” admits Clancy, “because of all of the advances in biomedical science. More and more, it’s not the case that there’s one thing to do for a particular condition—there are multiple choices. How do you make those choices?” CER is looking to fill that gap. “We think this research will help make sense of all of the rapidly expanding options and innovations in medicine. It’s all about focusing on patients’ needs, and applying the best of science to meet those individual needs,” says Clancy.

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