Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
An Excellent Resource for Caregivers
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is one of twelve agencies within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, designed to improve the outcomes and quality of healthcare and support the research aiming to ensure that quality.
Simply visit their website AHRQ.gov and click on the For Patients and Consumers tab. It will show you an array of options to view and click into.
Although it’s full of data and research, as a caregiver, you may find the following information on the website especially useful: care planning, diagnosis and treatment, patient involvement, and prevention and health.
Care planning will enable you to learn and understand the health care costs and what you can do about them. There are also excellent resources located within this section about how to navigate the health care system, how to find a good doctor that fits your needs, and how to prevent errors in medication.
The diagnosis and treatment section will help provide you with the tools you need to navigate through various treatments and surgery options. It also provides some detailed links to medicines that have been recalled as well as information on how to prepare for a surgery, or how to cope with your diagnosis.
The patient involvement section provides information on getting the most out of your relationship with your doctor through asking relevant questions, being open and honest about medical conditions, and also has some good videos on physician involvement. There is also a specific section within this block that touches on prevention for men as well as getting preventive tests and finding support and advice.
Prevention and health offers helpful information on staying healthy, how to quit smoking (successfully), and how to use screening tests to detect potential diseases. It also includes downloadable consumer guides on health issues such as: blood clots, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, heart disease, osteoarthritis, and others.
One great takeaway from the site is the wealth of tips provided such as: getting a second opinion from a different doctor at a different facility and being well informed about the health procedures prior to the surgery. It also has separate sections in Spanish that touch on a range of issues.
It’s always helpful to have resources and it’s even better to know where to find them and how to use them. AHRQ does just that by providing caregivers helpful information that gives them the tools they need to help their loved ones navigate through the health care system, find the right health plan, and locate a good doctor.
Additionally, AHRQ helps reduce costs of healthcare, addresses patients’ safety, notices medical errors and ensures broader access to effective services. The Agency also acts as a science partner, collaborating with the public and private sector to build a knowledge database in the health care industry. AHRQ translates this knowledge into everyday practice and policymaking- which ultimately aims to help individuals make the most out of their health.
How has AHRQ helped your family? Please share in the comments!