A federal official has expressed hope that healthcare researchers and professionals will continue to have some kind of substitute resource following the scheduled July 16 shutdown of the National Guidelines Clearinghouse. The NGC, a program funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research Quality (AHRQ), boasted a public website offering access to a database drawing an average of 200,000 visitors per month looking for diagnostic and medical treatment guidelines. Everyone from physicians to researchers to academics accessed the NGC to find updated information on the over 4,000 guidelines and documents the repository maintained.
“The Agency knows that many individuals and organizations have built routines and processes around the presence of NGC, so we are exploring a path to sustain NGC or some evolution of NGC and will continue to do so even after the site is offline,” said Dr. Francis D. Chesley, Jr., an acting deputy director at AHRQ.
Created by the AHRQ in partnership with the American Medical Association and America’s Health Insurance Plans (previously known as the American Association of Health Plans), the NGC provided the documents and guidelines that have become an essential tool for the provision of evidence-based care and therefore part of working routines for those who came to rely on the NGC. Pending news of a replacement resource for the NGC, those looking for guidelines on any particular course of treatment will need to look for the most current guidelines elsewhere, such as guidelines that follow the criteria set by the National Academy of Medicine.
With a decline in funding allocations, the AHRQ’s $334 million annual budget is $120 million below its 2010 level and AHRQ allocations to the NGC were omitted for fiscal year 2018.
Gabriela Villanueva is CAP’s Public Affairs Analyst. Questions or comments related to this article should be directed to gvillanueva@CAPphysicians.com