Patient Registries Handbook Published by AHRQ to Improve Health Care Outcomes

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) released a new handbook Wednesday that will help researchers use patient registries to evaluate the impact of health care treatments. A patient registry is a database of confidential patient information that can be analyzed to compare the outcomes and safety of health care. Doctors, physician groups, and health insurers also can benefit from the data.

"This Registries Guide is a milestone in our growing efforts to draw from medical practice and learn which treatments really work best," said HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt. "If we can learn more systematically from the experience of millions of patients and clinicians in day-to-day practice, then we can discover more quickly which treatments are truly most effective, and for whom."

The 219-page document, "Registries for Evaluating Patient Outcomes: A User's Guide," is a first for the U.S.government; it was created by AHRQ and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. To download it, visit www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov or order copies by e-mailing ahrqpubs@ahrq.gov or calling 800-358-9295.

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