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The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF or Task Force) has released its “Third Annual Report to Congress on High-Priority Evidence Gaps for Clinical Preventive Services.”
In 2013, the USPSTF continued to fulfill its mission of improving the health of all Americans by making evidence-based recommendations about clinical preventive services, including screening tests, counseling about healthy behaviors, and preventive medications. These recommendations help primary care clinicians and patients to decide together whether a preventive service is right for each patient’s needs.
In this report, the Task Force has focused on the care of older adults, highlighting five high-priority evidence gaps that deserve further examination and that, if filled, are likely to result in important new recommendations. The Task Force hopes that annually highlighting high-priority evidence gaps, as requested by Congress, will assist public and private researchers and research funders in targeting their efforts, ensuring a collaborative approach to improving preventive health and health care of all Americans.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF or Task Force) is an independent, volunteer panel of national experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine. The Task Force works to improve the health of all Americans by making evidence-based recommendations about clinical preventive services and health promotion. The Task Force comprehensively assesses evidence and makes recommendations about the effectiveness of screening tests, counseling about healthful behaviors, and preventive medications for children, adolescents, adults, older adults, and pregnant women.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 charges the USPSTF with making an annual report to Congress that identifies gaps in the evidence base and recommends priority areas that deserve further examination. In its first and second annual reports to Congress, the Task Force identified screening tests, behavioral interventions, and preventive medications with significant evidence gaps deserving further research. Given the expected pace of research, it is too soon to expect that many of the gaps identified in the Task Force's first two annual reports would have been addressed. The Task Force, therefore, encourages Congress to continue promoting research to address these gaps.
In this annual report, the USPSTF has prioritized evidence gaps related to the care of older adults. More research in these areas would likely result in important new recommendations that will help improve the health and health care of older Americans.
Priorities for Improving the Health of Older Adults Through Research on Clinical Preventive Services
- Screening for Cognitive Impairment and Dementia
- Screening for Physical and Mental Well-Being of Older Adults
- Preventing Falls and Fractures
- Screening for Vision and Hearing Problems
- Avoiding the Unintended Harms of Medical Procedures and Testing in Older Adults
The USPSTF will continue to independently evaluate the evidence on clinical preventive services to empower health care professionals, health care systems, and the American people to make informed decisions about their health and health care.
The USPSTF believes that identifying evidence gaps and highlighting them as priority areas for research will inspire public and private researchers to collaborate and target their efforts to generate new knowledge and address important health priorities.
Current as of November 2013
Third Annual Report to Congress on High-Priority Evidence Gaps for Clinical Preventive Services. November 2013. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/annlrpt3/index.html