About the AHRQ Health Care Innovations Exchange

The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) created the Health Care Innovations Exchange to speed the implementation of new and better ways of delivering health care. The Innovations Exchange supports the Agency's mission to produce evidence to make health care safer, higher quality, more accessible, equitable, and affordable, and to work with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and other partners to make sure that the evidence is understood and used.

The Innovations Exchange offers busy health professionals and researchers the opportunity to share, learn about, and ultimately adopt evidence-based innovations and tools suitable for a range of health care settings and populations. Its Web site has the following components:

  • Searchable Innovations: Profiles of successful and attempted service delivery and policy innovations describe the innovative activity, its impact, how the innovator developed and implemented it, and other useful information for deciding whether to adopt the innovation.
  • Searchable QualityTools: Practical tools can help assess, promote, and improve the quality of health care.
  • Articles and resources: Articles describe the process of innovation and adoption, as well as ways to enhance any organization's receptivity to innovative policies and approaches to care. Resources include expert commentaries, perspectives, reports, and adoption guides.

In addition to the Web site, the Innovations Exchange previously offered a range of learning and networking opportunities including Web events, online chats, and virtual and in-person meetings. From 2014-2016, the Innovations Exchange sponsored three Learning Communities focused on priority topic areas in an effort to support the adoption and spread of innovations to improve care delivery.

AHRQ’s Fiscal Year 2016 (FY16) budget appropriation was reduced; as a result, the Innovations Exchange effort ended effective September 26, 2016. AHRQ will host the Innovations Exchange Web site but its content will not be maintained for currency, until such time AHRQ makes a strategic and programmatic decision about the Innovations Exchange future.

How an Innovation Is Defined

The Innovations Exchange defines an 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. Innovation can mean different things to different people, depending on sector as well as organizational and other contextual factors. An activity or policy that is standard practice in one health care system or setting may be cutting-edge for another. The Innovations Exchange includes clinical and non-clinical activities and tools that vary in degree of novelty, effects on quality or disparities, and level of supporting evidence.

To learn about inclusion criteria, go to Inclusion Criteria.

Who Uses the Health Care Innovations Exchange?

A diverse group of individuals uses the Innovations Exchange, including nurses/nurse practitioners, health care administrators, quality improvement professionals, researchers, educators, and students.

Silver Communicator Awards badge for Web sites

Web Site Awards

In 2015, the Innovations Exchange was recognized with a Silver Award of Distinction in the Government Web sites category of the 2015 Communicator Awards competition. The Communicator Awards is an international awards program honoring creative excellence for print, video, interactive, and audio content. 


The Innovations Exchange Web site received a 2012 Interactive Media Award for Outstanding Achievement in the category of Healthcare. The Interactive Media Awards competition recognizes the highest standards of excellence in Web site design and development.


In 2012 the site won a Health Care Standard of Excellence WebAward for Outstanding Achievement in Web Development from the Web Marketing Association. The WebAward competition names the best Web sites in 96 industries while setting the standard of excellence for all Web site development.


The Web site was also recognized with a 2012 eHealthcare Leadership Award for Best Health/Healthcare Content from Strategic Health Care Communications. The eHealthcare Leadership Awards recognize the best health Web sites and digital communications of health care organizations.

Learn about our Expert Panel and Editorial Board Emeriti.

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