Background Public and private funders evaluate health care investments in terms of outcomes and accountability. Citation analysis can approximate the dissemination and impact of funded research outputs.
Objectives Use references in guidelines and measures represented in the National Guideline Clearinghouse (NGC) and National Quality Measures Clearinghouse (NQMC) to track the uptake of AHRQ Effective Health Care (EHC) programme outputs.
Methods 442 EHC-related titles were searched against the full-text corpus of the Clearinghouses. Documents that cited the titles were examined for the context of the citations. References were considered strong when tied to a specific metric or recommendation or noted as important to the guideline’s methodology; moderate if discussed in the body of the citing document; and weak if they appeared only in the reference list.
Results 174 individual guidelines and measures cited EHC-related titles (n = 341). 50% of the guideline references were strong, 28% moderate and the remainder weak or undetermined (22%). All measure references were strong.
Discussion This analysis has been done annually since 2010 with the numbers of detected citations increasing each year. The method used not only assesses whether a work was referenced in a guideline or measure, but its relative importance to the guideline or measure providing evidence of impact of the EHC programme.
Implications Systematic reviews and other research published through the EHC programme are being used to develop guidelines and measures that meet inclusion criteria for NGC and NQMC. EHC reports may be downloaded and topics nominated at www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov
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