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Press Release Date: December 17, 1999
John M. Eisenberg, M.D., director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), today announced that the agency is seeking investigators to test the effectiveness of the transfer and application of "best practices" to improve patient safety by reducing preventable medical errors that are frequent and cause serious harm through improvement in health care systems. AHRQ will award up to $2 million in fiscal year 2000 to support 4 to 6 projects under this Request for Applications (RFA) entitled "Systems-related Best Practices to Improve Patient Safety." Letters of intent are due by March 10, 2000, and applications are due by April 27, 2000. Public and private for-profit and nonprofit organizations, including universities, clinics, state and local government units, nonprofit firms and nonprofit foundations may submit applications.
A recent report released by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) noted that an estimated 44,000 to 98,000 people die each year as a result of a medical error. Based on that estimate, the IOM noted that deaths from medical errors could be the 8th leading cause of death in this country, and it called for additional research to develop system-wide strategies for reducing errors and improving patient safety.
"It's clear from the IOM report that we have an epidemic of medical errors in this country," said Dr. Eisenberg. "This RFA represents a small down payment on the investment this nation needs to eradicate this epidemic and ensure that patients are safe as they go through the health care system." Dr. Eisenberg noted that this RFA builds on the landmark research on errors funded by the Agency in the early 1990s.
Projects funded under the RFA should use rigorous research methods to test the transfer and application of best practices that reduce medical errors, and determine tangible and measurable improvements in patient safety across a variety of settings that result from their use. To speed the translation of these best practices into safer patient care in as many health care settings as possible, applicants are encouraged to form partnerships or consortia that provide a wide range of multi-disciplinary, technical expertise. These partnerships can include academic, public, and private health care organizations that offer a laboratory in which to evaluate error reduction and improved patient safety strategies.
To obtain a copy of the RFA online, select "Systems-related Best Practices to Improve Patient Safety" on AHRQ's Web site at http://www.ahrq.gov/fund/.
For additional information, please contact AHRQ Public Affairs at (301) 427-1364: Nancy Comfort (301) 427-1866 (NComfort@ahrq.gov).