Boston, Mass., September 5, 2013 – The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) today released a new Action Guide to help provider organizations, payers, and policy makers interpret existing evidence and apply the recommendations of leading policy experts to guide the integration of community health workers (CHWs) into health care systems. The Action Guide translates the results from a recent report titled, “Community Health Workers: A Review of Program Evolution, Evidence on Effectiveness and Value, and Status of Workforce Development in New England,” and provides an associated list of evidence-based action steps and resources tailored to help different stakeholders interpret and apply the evidence to policy and practice. The report formed the basis for the deliberations and votes of the June 2013 meeting of the New England Comparative Effectiveness Public Advisory Council (CEPAC) – an independent body that meets in a public, transparent forum to provide objective guidance on how information from evidence reviews can best be used by regional decision-makers to improve the quality and value of healthcare services.
The Action Guide consists of 3 parts with resources and evidence-based steps targeted for 1) the CHW workforce; 2) provider groups and other organizations who employ CHWs; and 3) health insurers. Each section provides information for individuals or organizations looking to apply the best available evidence and expert opinion in the use of CHWs. Among the topics addressed in the guide are CHW certification and training, recruitment, financing and reimbursement, patient interaction, and evaluation.
“This Action Guide is consistent with CEPAC’s mission of making evidence actionable and applicable to all of the key decision makers in the healthcare system,” stated Steven D. Pearson, MD, MSc, FRCP, President of ICER. “Through CEPAC, we aim to support the overall goal of our healthcare system – to provide patient-centered, high quality care. This guide translates CEPAC’s work deliberating on critical comparative evidence and value to provide new solutions for how evidence can be moved into action.”
CEPAC is a regional body whose goal is to provide objective, independent guidance on the application of medical evidence to clinical practice and payer policy decisions across New England. Supported by a federal grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and with backing from a consortium of New England state health policy leaders, CEPAC holds public meetings to consider evidence reviews of medical tests and treatments and provide judgments regarding how the evidence can best be used across New England to improve the quality and value of health care services. CEPAC consists of practicing physicians with experience in evaluating and using evidence in the practice of healthcare, as well as patient/public members with experience in health policy, patient advocacy and public health. ICER is managing the day-to-day operations of CEPAC as part of its federally funded initiative meant to develop and test new ways to adapt federal evidence reviews to improve their usefulness for patients, clinicians, and payers. A list of CEPAC members, and other information about the project, is available online at cepac.icer-review.org.
The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), based at the Massachusetts General Hospital’s Institute for Technology Assessment (ITA) and an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, provides independent evaluation of the clinical effectiveness and comparative value of new and emerging technologies. Structured as a fully transparent organization, ICER seeks to achieve its ultimate mission of informing public policy and spurring innovation in the use of evidence to improve the value of health care for all.