Complex patients, Patient-Centered Cancer Care, and the Use, Misuse, and Abuse of Prescription Drugs: These are pressing issues that are affecting stakeholders across the continuum of care, and they are the topics of ECRI Institute s forthcoming annual conferences on the use of evidence in policy and practice in 2014, 2015, and 2016. For the past twenty years, ECRI Institute has built a reputation for organizing annual conferences which have been addressed and influenced issues of critical concern in healthcare and to AHRQ in particular. ECRI Institute convenes these conferences each year because the organization is dedicated to disseminating evidence-based information to the public. With our conferences, we stress that we must be able to assess the status of the evidence and not just pose questions that are philosophically interesting. In 2014, we are examining how complex (aka high risk ) patients and increasingly complex healthcare delivery systems interact. The 2014 conference will address care coordination and transitions, and care in and out of the hospital and will introduce the themes that will be addressed in the 2015 and 2016 conferences. In 2015, in partnership with the National Cancer Institute and others, our conference will be examining patient-centered cancer care. And in 2016, the conference will be focused on the use, misuse, and abuse of prescription drugs. The main objective of these conferences is to serve as the impetus for important conversations and to stimulate significant research. Past conference topics have included data big and small, patient- centeredness, comparative effectiveness, personalized medicine, and systemness. We have long-standing collaborations with public and private organizations that join us in addressing our conference themes. The U.S. Department of Veterans, the University of Pennsylvania Health System, and Kaiser Permanente have agreed to play lead roles in these conferences. These conferences, as like those in past years, will have an in-person audience that we estimate will be 500. ECRI Institute receives no commercial sponsorship for its conferences. These conferences are free and open to all. All speakers contribute their time and are not paid honoraria. They are paid travel associated expenses. The themes of these conferences and their emphasis on examining the evidence make them of great value and importance to the current healthcare climate and to AHRQ and its on-going initiatives.
Institute has planned and conducted twenty annual conferences that address issues of vital importance to AHRQ and the greater healthcare community. The past three conferences, and the conferences planned for 2014, 2015, and 2015, all address different, critical aspects of comparative effectiveness and health reform. They should be seen as parts of an effort to provide a fuller understanding of key issues that can be informed by evolving evidence for policymakers and practitioners in the public and private sectors.