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AHRQ Issues Second in a Series of Requests for Applications on Patient Safety Research

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Press Release Date: November 13, 2000

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is seeking applications from non-profit organizations, universities, clinics, and federal, state and local government agencies to establish as many as 10 new Developmental Centers for Evaluation and Research in Patient Safety (DCERPS). AHRQ expects to award up to $2 million in exploratory grants under this Request for Applications (RFA), which is the second in a series of six RFAs to be released in Fiscal Year 2001 under the Agency's new patient safety and medical errors research program.

AHRQ announced the first RFA in this series, which seeks to develop Centers of Excellence for Patient Safety Research and Practice, on October 26 (select for the press release). Upcoming patient safety RFAs will focus on research related to health system error reporting, the use of informatics to promote patient safety, the effect of working conditions on patient safety, and patient safety research dissemination and education.

The new DCERPS to be created under this RFA are unique because they will include multidisciplinary teams of researchers, including those who are familiar with human factors psychology, organizational processes, and error reporting; direct ties to a medical delivery system through formal data-sharing agreements and other methods; and evidence-based patient safety education programs. The DCERPS projects are expected to last up to 3 years, including an initial planning phase of up to 1 year followed by a 1- to 2-year pilot study. Special consideration for this RFA will be given to researchers who have not been funded as principal investigators on AHRQ projects within the past 2 years. The RFA also includes a set-aside for partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities or Hispanic-Serving Institutions.

Projects funded under the DCERPS RFA will help build research capacity in the following areas: (1) determining how to learn most effectively from medical errors and to communicate that information to patients and families; (2) developing a more complete understanding of the types and causes of medical errors in a variety of settings, levels of care, and patient populations; (3) understanding the impact of systems and professional and organizational cultures on reducing medical errors; (4) describing the role of informatics in improving clinical decision-making, reducing errors, and advancing patient safety; (5) examining reporting mechanisms by studying the content, detail, level of confidentiality, analytical expertise, and the feedback strategies that promote quality improvement; and (6) determining the appropriate role(s) for patients and families in reducing medical errors.

Letters of intent for the DCERPS program are due January 3, 2001; applications are due January 24, 2001. For additional information on this RFA, go to the November 8 NIH Guide at

In addition, a special technical assistance workshop for interested applicants is scheduled for Dec. 15 at AHRQ's offices; call Lisa Krever at (301) 427-1306 or E-mail her at for details.

For additional information, please contact AHRQ Public Affairs, (301) 427-1364: Farah Englert, (301) 427-1865 (

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