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The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), formerly the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR), sponsors and conducts research that provides information on health care outcomes, quality, cost, use, and access. The information helps health care decision makers—patients and clinicians, health system administrators, and policy makers—to make more informed decisions in order to improve the quality of health care services. AHRQ was established specifically to respond to the nation's need for knowledge about the health care system. AHRQ was established in December 1989 to enhance the quality, appropriateness, and effectiveness of health care services, and access to these services, through the establishment of a broad base of scientific research and through the promotion of improvements in clinical practice and in the organisation, financing, and delivery of health care services.1
Health plans and system administrators use the findings and tools developed through research sponsored by AHRQ to make choices on how to improve the health care system's ability to provide access and to deliver high quality, high value care. Purchasers use the products of AHRQ sponsored research to obtain high quality health care services. Other potential uses for AHRQ sponsored products include development of performance measures, quality improvement programs, coverage policies, and clinical practice guidelines.
It has been more than two years since the publication of the AHRQ sponsored “Smoking cessation” clinical practice guideline2 and the success of …