Applied Health Research Question (AHRQ)
An AHRQ is a question posed by a health system Knowledge User that, if answered, may improve or benefit the Ontario health system.
Knowledge Users include policy development staff, planners and decision makers from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) as well as, but not limited to, other government ministries, Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs), hospitals (acute and rehabilitation), Community Care Access Centres, provincial associations and agencies across Ontario (e.g., Health Quality Ontario, Public Health Ontario).
Research centres and teams funded by the Planning, Research and Analysis Branch of the MOHLTC respond to AHRQs to help inform health planning, policy and program development, which in turn helps strengthen the Ontario health system.
As a health services research institute that holds Ontario’s administrative health data, ICES is well positioned to respond to AHRQs that directly involve the use of ICES data holdings.
AHRQs typically fall into one of three categories:
Meaning for ICES
Typically within 5 business days
Preliminary information providing a “first blush” response.
- Information that is needed urgently to inform a highly important policy or planning decision.
- Typically such information is either readily available or easily accessible at ICES.
- Statistics from an existing ICES report.
- Very basic analysis of existing data holdings (e.g., Number of emergency department visits for concussion or other head injuries by age and sex)
- Complex analysis provided there is an existing optimized algorithm (e.g. running the costing algorithm)
- Update to data tables from a previous AHRQ
Research report or technical brief
Synthesis of the existing research evidence on a given topic.
Brief data analysis resulting in data tables or a brief report.
- Incidence/prevalence of a chronic disease using an existing ICES-derived cohort
- Rates of breast cancer screening using mammography in Ontario
Greater than 8 weeks
Where it has been confirmed that new knowledge must be generated (i.e., existing knowledge is not sufficient for planning or policy development requirements), a new research project will be initiated. The duration may be months, or years, depending on the project.
Conduct a full research project that may involve a Data Sharing Agreement or multiple analyses.
- Prevalence of pressure ulcers and related skin problems in health care settings in Ontario
- Annual Cardiac Surgery Report Card
As per the MOHLTC’s AHRQ Guidelines, it is understood that not every AHRQ can be answered. ICES reserves the right to decline, postpone, or refer an AHRQ to a more appropriate Research Provider according to the nature of the question or data source, study feasibility or the resources required to complete the work.
For more information regarding the AHRQ Process, please review the AHRQ Guidelines published by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
ICES will accept Rapid Response AHRQs at any time. ICES also sends out a call for other AHRQs semi-annually. The next intake deadline is June 7, 2013.
All requests from Ministry Knowledge Users must be approved by the requestor's Assistant Deputy Minister.
To be eligible for consideration, AHRQs must meet the following criteria.
- Your organization must be a Knowledge User as defined by the MOHLTC (see AHRQ Guideline or AHRQ Presentation Slides for details).
- The main objective of the AHRQ is to provide a basis for evidence-based decision making for the Knowledge User. It cannot involve advocacy of a particular cause or answer.
- Priority will be given to single well-defined projects involving questions that are widely applicable to the health care system and for which ICES has the data and human resources to complete the work.
Knowledge Users will:
- Initiate direct contact with the ICES-MOHLTC Liaison (email@example.com), and copy the MOHLTC Research Unit (ResearchUnit@ontario.ca).
- Provide ICES with a brief summary of the background and purpose of the question being proposed by filling out the Knowledge User AHRQ Request Form).
- Work with ICES to identify which of the three AHRQ response types is most appropriate, given the information need and decision timeline.
- Ensure that AHRQs are approved in writing by a senior manager (e.g., assistant deputy minister, executive director) in the Knowledge User’s organization and reflect the need for knowledge in the Ontario health system.
Finally, the results of the AHRQ will be submitted to the Knowledge User and a Summary of Findings Form will be submitted to the MOHLTC Research Unit once the work is completed.
Should you have questions about how to complete the AHRQ Request Form or wish to discuss the feasibility of your research question, please do not hesitate to contact us. Requests that are not approved will be forwarded to the Research Unit who will be facilitating the referral of your question to another organization. Further, you can approach another Research Provider who may be better suited to answer your request (Click here for a full list).
Please submit any comments, inquiries and your completed Knowledge User AHRQ Request Form to:
Phone: (416) 480-4055 x 83781