Created in 1984 and supported by AHRQ, the independent U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) works to improve the health of all Americans by making evidence-based recommendations about clinical preventive services, such as screenings, counseling services, and preventive medications. In this multi-year project, AIR is supporting efforts to increase the transparency of collecting and reviewing public comments on draft Task Force clinical recommendations and dissemination of recommendations to the public, clinicians, patient advocate organizations, and policymakers.
As part of this project, AIR summarizes public comments on draft recommendations related to topics such as: hormone replacement therapy, physical activity and diet, obesity, fall prevention, sexually transmitted infections, cardiovascular disease, nonmedical use of drugs, preventive medication, cancer, mental health disorders, deficiency disorders, speech and language delay, diabetes, dental caries, substance abuse, child maltreatment, hepatitis B & C, HIV screening, dyslipidemia, abdominal aortic aneurysm, COPD, preeclampsia, impaired visual acuity, behavioral counseling and healthy lifestyles, folic acid supplementation, celiac disease, and obstructive sleep apnea.
The AIR research team—which includes staff from the University of North Carolina, Chapel-Hill, and the National Committee for Quality Assurance—produces a document explaining the process used to reach USPSTF decisions, using data from a range of sources: past USPSTF recommendations and deliberations, medical literature, other groups' recommendations, and discussions with small groups of methodological experts and stakeholders. A summary of the data collected is then used to lead deliberations by the USPSTF to narrow the options to a consistent, evidence-based approach. Finally, the AIR team drafts a final report and white paper to document and explain the Task Force decision-making process.