ECRI resuscitates healthcare clearinghouse data

Accreditation Insider, July 24, 2018

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The ECRI Institute will step in to provide critical healthcare data that otherwise became unavailable last week when the federal government’s National Guidelines Clearinghouse fell victim to the budget axe.

Karen M. Schoelles, MD, a senior director at ECRI Institute, said the Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania-based nonprofit stepped in after the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality announced that the NGC website would shut down on July 17.

She said ECRI has the opportunity to replicate much of NGC’s vast trove of evidence-based medical research and guidelines because it has played an ongoing role in the development and maintenance of the database since its inception in 1998.

“Much of the information will be similar, but our site will not be a replica of the site created for AHRQ,” Schoelles said in an email to HealthLeaders Media.

“We are doing this because we believe the work we did for AHRQ was valuable to the healthcare community,” she said. “ECRI’s mission is to advance evidence-based health care globally, and we see this as a way to support that mission.”

Schoelles said ECRI is developing the replacement database “without support or input from AHRQ” but with a plan to “simplify presentation of the information and use more visual means of communication.”

ECRI is also contacting guideline developers and requesting permission to include their data on the website.

 “We know already that some of the organizations whose guidelines were on the AHRQ Clearinghouse website are happy to share their information with us,” Schoelles said.

“Once they share their guidelines with us, we will summarize them and evaluate them against the National Academy of Medicine’s criteria for trustworthy guidelines,” she said.
Budget Cuts

AHRQ spokesperson Alison Hunt said the NGC website was forced to shut down on July 17 after funding was reduced from $2.1 million to $1.2 million. Hunt said it’s not clear if the shutdown will be permanent.

“We are exploring options to sustain the NGC and will share more information when it becomes available,” Hunt said.

Written by John Commins, HealthLeaders Media.

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