Variations in the practice of medicine have received national scrutiny because of their considerable social, economic and quality of care implications. The Center collaborates with practicing physicians in North Carolina and across the United States to explore these medical practice variations and their implications for health care outcomes. Work with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has continued and expanded over the past decade, with continuing investigator initiated awards but, most prominently, rapid growth in contract work. Initiated in October 1997, AHRQ funded the Research Triangle Institute (RTI) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to become one of 11 Evidence-based Practice Centers (EPCs) nationally. In September 2005, AHRQ awarded a second AHRQ master task order contract to provide a variety of services and products to support the development of new scientific knowledge through research on the outcomes of healthcare items and services. Activities performed by the DEcIDE (Developing Evidence to Inform Decisions about Effectiveness) Network reflect the general principle that clinicians and patients should have the best available evidence upon which to make choices in health care items and services. Hence, the network rapidly develops scientific evidence and new analytic tools to assist healthcare providers, patients, and policy makers with making informed decisions about the comparative effectiveness, appropriateness, safety, and outcomes of healthcare items and services, particularly prescription medications and medical devices.
Director: Dan Jonas, MD, MPH