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Press Release Date: June 15, 1997
The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research is seeking
applications for research and evaluation projects in clinical
quality measurement and improvement. This request for
applications (RFA)—published in the June 13 NIH Guide to Grants
and Contracts (Volume 26, Number 20)—will provide the essential
science base for the development of quality tools to measure the
effects of rapid changes in the delivery of health services. This
RFA builds on AHCPR's long history of supporting innovative
projects that have helped to improve the quality of health care
services. In 1996, AHCPR funded the Q-Span (Expansion of Quality
Measures) project to improve existing quality measures and fill
gaps where measures are needed.
"HHS Secretary Donna E. Shalala has made a commitment to ensure
that the American health care system provides the highest quality
health care," said AHCPR Administrator John M. Eisenberg, M.D.
"To that end, she has designated AHCPR as the lead agency for a
department-wide initiative that has as one of its goals to
promote research to improve quality."
AHCPR requests grant applications in three priority areas:
- Methods and Measures. Better methods and measures are needed
to improve quality. Important areas include development and
testing of outcomes measures and severity adjustment
methods, and refinement and expansion of health and
functional status and health-related quality of life.
Research also is needed in relatively unexplored issues such
as timeliness of care; the importance of communication in
quality of care; and the translation of information about
quality of care into health care management.
- Organizational Change and Quality Measurement and
Improvement. Research is needed to incorporate new methods
and measures effectively into ongoing health care programs
and to determine how health care measurement can lead to
improved care in a variety of settings. Organization and
system issues include how different approaches to designing
and implementing quality improvement interventions work in
and across health care delivery settings. AHCPR would like
to form partnerships with the private sector—employers,
payers and providers—to examine ways to improve quality;
AHCPR would fund the evaluation of these collaborative
- Using Quality-related Information. Research is needed on how
information on quality affects decisionmaking at various
levels of the health care system. Research issues include
how the use of information on quality improves the ability
of patients, providers, employees, employers, health care
purchasers and health plans to work together effectively.
AHCPR is especially interested in projects that will produce
results within one to two years, although projects of up to five
years' duration will be considered. AHCPR plans to make
approximately $2 million available in fiscal year 1998 for the
RFA, providing first year support of up to 10 awards of differing
amounts. The application receipt date is Sept. 16 and the first
possible award date is Jan. 1, 1998.
AHCPR has identified the following priority populations as a
special focus for research under this RFA: minority groups;
women; children; persons with chronic diseases or disabilities;
and the elderly.
For additional information, contact AHCPR Public Affairs: Karen Carp, (301) 427-1858 (KCarp@ahrq.gov); Salina V. Prasad, (301) 427-1864 (SPrasad@ahrq.gov).