Since its inception, the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has funded research and other activities concerning a variety of children’s health issues. As part of its strategic planning process AHRQ is evaluating its priority populations, including children. RAND was asked to assess the AHRQ’s contribution to new knowledge in child health, improved clinical practice and health care outcomes for children, and AHRQ’s involvement in children’s health activities. To implement these objectives, RAND developed and implemented a conceptual framework based on state-of-the-art research evaluation theories. This framework suggests that the effect of any particular activity is likely to be highly indirect and that policy and practice outcomes are multi-determined and depend on a loose network of actors (funders, researchers, policy makers, the public, regulatory officials, practitioners). It also suggests that the impact of activities is typically characterized by a highly skewed distribution, with a relatively small number of activities having a large impact and the vast majority having a smaller impact.
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Summary and Conclusions