Frequently Asked Questions

Check to find the answers to your questions about the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) programs and activities. You can search by category or key words. You can also send us your questions or website feedback here. We will respond to your requests based on the best available scientific evidence and research from our Agency.

AHRQ cannot provide diagnoses or specific medical advice to individuals on their personal health conditions and situations.

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You can find information on the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's (AHRQ) Women's Health program at Women's Health Topic Page.

On December 6, 1999, the Healthcare Research and Quality Act of 1999 reauthorized the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and directed the Agency, in carrying out its mission, to conduct and support research and evaluations, and to support demonstration projects, with respect to the delivery of health care in inner-city and rural areas (including frontier areas); and health care for priority populations, which include low income groups; minority groups; women; children; the elderly; and individuals with special health care needs, including individuals with disabilities and individuals who need chronic care or end-of-life health care.

To implement this directive and help achieve a broad portfolio of research, AHRQ implemented a policy on the Inclusion of Priority Populations in the health services research.

For more information, go to the notice in the NIH Guide.

The inclusion of priority populations in research policy began with all grant applications submitted to AHRQ on October 1, 2003.

AHRQ's priority populations, specified by Congress in the Healthcare Research and Quality Act of 1999 (Public Law 106-129) include: women, children, racial and ethnic minorities, populations with special healthcare needs (chronic illness, disabilities, and end of life care needs), the elderly, low-income, inner-city, and rural populations.

AHRQ uses the words "consumer" and "patient" to differentiate between individuals who may be exploring options for their medical care. "Consumers" refer to individuals who may be facing a decision about which health plan to enroll in. "Patients" refer to individuals who have an existing health need or health care condition and who may be facing a decision about which physician, hospital, or outpatient provider to select for a particular treatment.

AHRQ's videos are available on many of its websites and also on its YouTube channels:

The AHRQ Health Care Innovations Exchange is designed to support health care professionals in sharing and adopting innovations that improve health care quality. Sponsored by AHRQ, the Health Care Innovations Exchange offers:

  • Detailed profiles of innovative activities and QualityTools.
  • Contact information for innovators.
  • Education, through perspectives, articles, videos and more on supporting innovation and implementing innovations effectively within your organization.

For more information, go to the Innovations Exchange website:

The Health Care Innovations Exchange is interested in all innovations that have a direct or indirect impact on patient care or service delivery. Priorities established by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) include:

  • Innovations that focus on reducing disparities in care or improving the health status of vulnerable populations.
  • Innovations with the potential for high impact.
  • Innovations submitted by someone with a strong interest in participating in all activities of the Health Care Innovations Exchange.
  • Innovations developed as a result of AHRQ funding.

The QualityTools website was integrated into the AHRQ Health Care Innovations Exchange website. Go to the Innovations Exchange Help page to learn how to search and browse the QualityTools database for tools of interest.

You can type your search term in the Search box accessible on the Innovations Exchange homepage to search the database quickly.

You can apply filters to the result set to help you narrow the search. Filters include content types (for example, innovation profiles, qualitytools, articles, and videos) and/or specific QualityTool Topic, including benchmarking/comparative data, patient/medication safety, and quality improvement strategies.

You can also browse the QualityTools database by topic and other areas shared with innovations, including disease or clinical category, IOM domains of quality, setting of care, patient population, and more.

Innovation refers to the implementation of new or altered products, services, processes, systems, organizational structures, or business models as a means of improving one or more domains of health care quality or reducing health care disparities. Innovation can mean different things to different people, depending on sector as well as organizational and other contextual factors.

Ask a question, report a problem, or give us your opinion about a specific AHRQ program.