Frequently Asked Questions
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Submitting an Innovation
A health care policy innovation is a new approach in a given organizational context for driving changes in the behavior of individuals, groups, or organizational entities that improve quality or reduce disparities in the delivery of health care services. See http://innovations.ahrq.gov/inclusion/policy.aspx
for a complete description of the inclusion criteria.
The AHRQ Health Care Innovations Exchange defines health care innovation as the implementation of new or altered products, services, processes, systems, policies, organizational structures, or business models that aim to improve one or more domains of health care quality or reduce health care disparities. To learn more about how an innovation is defined, go to Submit Innovation.
The Innovations Exchange includes clinical and nonclinical activities and tools that vary in their degree of novelty, effect on quality, and level of supporting evidence. Information about innovations is presented as Service Delivery Innovation Profiles, Policy Innovation Profiles, and Innovation Attempts:
- Service Delivery Innovation Profiles and Policy Innovation Profiles describe innovations that have achieved some level of success. Each profile presents the problem addressed by the innovation, how the innovation works, the results of using the innovation, and how the innovation was first developed and implemented. The profile also offers lessons learned by the innovator, including guidance on getting started with the innovation and sustaining it over time.
- Innovation Attempts describe projects that did not succeed as planned because they could not be implemented or sustained, did not achieve desired results, or had unexpected negative consequences. Attempts are presented for health care organizations to learn from and build upon. Each attempt includes information on the problem the innovator intended to address, how the innovation works and its results, and the lessons learned by the innovator.
To ensure that the Innovations Exchange collection contains current information, each profile is reviewed and updated annually. The Editorial Team contacts the innovator seeking any new information, such as new components or updated results. The team also ensures that the innovation continues to meet the project’s inclusion criteria and is correctly classified as an attempt or a profile. Any significant updates are noted in the Snapshot section of the profile. The date of the most recent update is also provided.
When there is no longer a contact person available for an innovation, it is archived. The profile or attempt remains on the Innovations Exchange, as it may still contain useful information, but the Innovator Contact Information area is removed.
My Innovations: Saved Subjects and E-mail Alerts
To create a new account—
- Click the My Innovations button in the top navigation menu.
- Enter and confirm your e-mail address and password.
- Click "Create Account."
My Innovations allows you to create an account on the site, after which you will be able to save specific subjects. You can do this on the Innovations & QualityTools page.
A subject is a set of one or more content filters.
For example, on the Innovations & QualityTools page, if you had filtered the list of content to include only "Pediatric Care" (Disease or Clinical Category) and "Ambulatory Setting" (Setting of Care), you could save that set of filters (subject) for future use.
This functionality allows you to always view the latest content within your areas of interest on your My Innovations Dashboard, without needing to re-filter the whole list every time you visit the site.
You can also sign up for e-mail alerts on your saved subjects.
If you sign up for e-mail alerts, you will be notified when new content is published or existing content is updated within your subjects. Signing up for e-mail alerts is optional.
Once you have saved subjects to your My Innovations page, you will have the option on that page to sign up to receive e-mail alerts based on those subjects using a checkbox.
If you sign up for e-mail alerts, you will be notified when new content is published or existing content is updated that is related to just those subjects you have saved.
Signing up for e-mail alerts is completely optional. You can unsubscribe from these e-mail alerts at any time.
Once you sign up for My Innovations e-mail alerts based on your saved subjects, you will receive a digest of any new and updated content every 2 weeks.
If there has been no new or updated content since your last alert, you will not receive an e-mail.
You can update your e-mail and/or password at any time by signing in to your My Innovations page, then selecting the My Account tab.
You may have subscribed previously to receive e-mail updates from Innovations Exchange. That e-mail is sent biweekly to introduce the new issues and to announce special events of interest to our visitors.
Saved Subjects e-mail alerts only notify you when there is new/updated content posted in specific areas (subjects) that interest you.
Subscribing to E-mail Updates
To sign up, go to Stay Connected, and select "Sign up for E-mail Updates." Subscribers receive announcements when biweekly issues of timely health care content are published on the Innovations Exchange and when Web events are scheduled.
You do not have to give us personal information to visit our Web site or subscribe to our e-mail list or RSS service. We will keep your e-mail address confidential and will use it only to send you information about the Innovations Exchange.
Both the current and previous issues of the Innovations Exchange are available from the “What’s New” box on the Homepage.
To cancel your subscription, go to Stay Connected and select the Manage your subscriptions/Unsubscribe link; then enter your e-mail address and select the Unsubscribe box. You will receive a message confirming your request.
To submit a tool, send an e-mail to email@example.com with the following information:
- Name of the tool
- Developer organization
- Sponsor organization
- Hyperlink to tool
- Brief description
- Release date
Please include your name and telephone number so that we can follow up with you for more information if needed.
QualityTools includes a variety of materials such as worksheets, questionnaires, fact sheets, databases, benchmarks, software, planning resources, calculators, algorithms, checklists, and brochures.
To qualify as a QualityTool, a tool must be—
- An information resource designed for health care professionals (providers, purchasers, payers, and policymakers) or patients to use to improve decision making and/or health care quality.
- Available for free in an electronic format on the Internet. This format includes electronic abstracts and/or summaries of free tools that require ordering or free registration.
- Developed and/or sponsored by an identifiable agency, organization, or committee.
- Associated with the most current version of the guideline, if the tool is derived from an evidence-based practice guideline.
There are three ways to find QualityTools on a specific topic:
- Go to the Innovations & QualityTools page and select categories under Narrow by Subjects to refine your search of topics.
- Enter terms into the Search box on the Web site. The results will show tools as well as innovations that meet your search terms.
- Go to the Browse by Subject page and select a subject. The results will show both tools and innovations that address the selected subject.
You can receive regular updates on QualityTools (and innovations) that are added to this Web site. To subscribe to this service, go to the Stay Connected page.
The Innovations Exchange offers many opportunities to learn, share, and interact with others interested in health care delivery innovation. Free Web events on cutting-edge topics are offered periodically to the Innovations Exchange community. You can find information on upcoming events on the Homepage and materials from past events on the Events & Podcasts page. Experts and practitioners offer advice and ideas on topics related to quality improvement, innovation, and change management on the Articles & Guides page. You can also contact the innovators directly to learn more about their activities or post comments or questions on the innovation profiles.
A goal of the Innovations Exchange is to serve as a virtual community that brings together individuals and organizations that have implemented or are considering implementing innovations in health care delivery. The interactive comment feature is an important part of meeting this goal. By definition, most health care innovations have been adopted by a relatively small number of organizations. Consequently, limited information is typically available on how to develop, implement, and operate these programs effectively. By posting comments on specific innovations, users of the Innovations Exchange can enjoy the benefits of networking by sharing experiences, lessons learned, and other perspectives. Users are invited to submit comments on any innovation profiled on the Innovations Exchange. Comments can touch on a variety of topics, including but not limited to the following:
- Questions (or responses to questions) about how an innovation works, including those related to planning and development, implementation, ongoing execution, results achieved, or other aspects of the innovation
- Additional resources that could help with implementation of an innovation (i.e., tools, references, funding sources)
- Ideas about other contexts or settings in which the innovation may apply
- Lessons learned related to adopting or sustaining the innovation, including potential concerns, pitfalls, and red flags
Submitted comments are reviewed by the Innovations Exchange editorial staff to ensure that they are appropriate; this review process will typically take place within 1 working day of submission. While we expect to post nearly every comment, reviewers will not post comments that—
- May be perceived as a personal attack
- Use inappropriate or unprofessional language
- Appear to be commercial in nature
- Are unclear or seemingly unrelated to the innovation
- Are inaccurate, unsubstantiated, or off-topic
Anyone submitting a comment should provide a valid e-mail address to facilitate further communication. If for some reason we cannot accept a comment as submitted, the editorial staff will attempt to contact the submitter and suggest revisions to address our concerns.
Because this is a U.S. Federal Government Web site, all of the descriptive information in this site about innovations and tools is in the public domain. The information may be shared freely as long as it is appropriately cited. (Refer to the question below about citing information from this resource.) In addition, none of the descriptive information about innovations and tools on this Web site may be used for commercial or product endorsement purposes.
Although all of the tools and many of the innovations described in this site are available on the Internet, not all of them are in the public domain and available for distribution.
- Innovations and tools developed by the U.S. Federal Government are in the public domain and are not protected by copyright; therefore, they may be disseminated with the appropriate citation.
- Innovations and tools developed by non-Federal (private) developers may or may not be in the public domain. Innovations and tools that are not in the public domain may be protected by copyright, which means that you will need the developer's permission prior to dissemination. To contact the developer of an innovation, start with the contact information provided under Contact the Innovator in the What They Did section of the Innovation Profile or Attempt. For the QualityTools, please identify the developer through the tool's Web site.
Following is the suggested citation format for an Innovation Profile or Attempt:
AHRQ Health Care Innovations Exchange. Innovation Profile/Attempt: [insert title of profile/attempt] ([insert developer organization name]). In: AHRQ Health Care Innovations Exchange [Web site]. Rockville (MD): [cited YYYY Mon DD]. Available: http://www.innovations.ahrq.gov.
Example: AHRQ Health Care Innovations Exchange. Innovation Profile: E-mail Enhances Families' Communication With and Access to Pediatrician (Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh). In: AHRQ Health Care Innovations Exchange [Web site]. Rockville (MD): [cited 2008 Jul 31]. Available: http://www.innovations.ahrq.gov.
Following is the suggested citation format for a QualityTools Tool Summary:
QualityTools. Tool summary: [insert title of summary] ([insert developer organization name]). In: QualityTools [Web site]. Rockville (MD): [cited YYYY Mon DD]. Available: http://www.innovations.ahrq.gov/qualitytools.
Example: QualityTools. Tool summary: Child Health Guide (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality). In: QualityTools [Web site]. Rockville (MD): [cited 2008 Jul 31]. Available: http://www.innovations.ahrq.gov/qualitytools.
The Innovations Exchange encourages health care Web sites to establish links from their pages to www.innovations.ahrq.gov. If you would like to link to this site, please—
Please note that all external links from commercial sites to our Federal Government site should be clearly identified. Our Agency cannot endorse, nor appear to endorse, commercial services or products. Links should not be displayed in any manner that would imply an endorsement.
The Innovations Exchange Web site is supported on all widely available browsers, including the following:
- Microsoft Internet Explorer, version 8 and higher
- Mozilla Firefox, version 19 and higher
- Opera, version 12 and higher
- Safari, version 6 and higher
- Chrome, version 25 and higher
Fax: (301) 315-5912
Mail: Health Care Innovations Exchange, RA-1112S, Westat, 1600 Research Blvd., Rockville, MD 20850
The Innovations Exchange does not have medical professionals or physicians on staff to answer patients' questions or to advise on health-related issues or experiences. If you have a question about health care, please contact your doctor or visit www.MedlinePlus.gov.
Last updated: March 6, 2013.