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ICES-Institute for clinical evaluative sciences

AHRQ Categories

Applied Health Research Questions (AHRQ) fall into one of three categories:

  • Rapid response
  • Research report or technical brief
  • Research project

The type of AHRQ is determined mainly by depth of information required and the timeline for response.

Rapid Response

Rapid response AHRQs are defined by the Ministry of Health (MOH) as preliminary information providing a “first blush” response. For ICES, this means information is readily available or easily accessible and can be furnished within five business days. A rapid response AHRQ also indicates that information is required urgently to inform a highly important policy or planning decision.

Examples include:

  • 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 based on an existing optimized algorithm (e.g., running the costing algorithm); or
  • Update(s) to data tables from a previous AHRQ.

Research Report or Technical Brief

According to the MOH, a research report or technical brief AHRQ synthesizes existing research evidence on a given topic. For ICES, this type of AHRQ indicates a brief analysis resulting in a brief report or data tables. Typically, results can be furnished in four to eight weeks.

Examples include:

  • Incidence/prevalence of a chronic disease using an existing ICES-derived cohort
  • Rates of breast cancer screening using mammography in Ontario

Research Project

When existing knowledge is not sufficient for planning or policy development and new knowledge must be generated, a research project is initiated. Research project AHRQs may take months or even years, depending on the type of knowledge to be generated. For ICES, research projects may involve a Data Sharing Agreement or multiple analyses.

Examples of research projects are:

  • Prevalence of pressure ulcers and related skin problems in health care settings in Ontario
  • The Annual Cardiac Surgery Report Card

To ensure your AHRQ request is accurate, please review the Preparing Your AHRQ Request page.

More information:

AHRQ Overview

Preparing Your AHRQ Request

AHRQ Projects

AHRQ Infographics

Contact us

If you have questions about AHRQs and the AHRQ process, please contact