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AHRQ seeks proposals in response to three new RFAs

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (formerly the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, AHCPR) has issued two new Requests for Applications (RFAs) for cooperative agreements, as described here. A third RFA is for demonstration projects. Applications may be submitted by domestic or foreign public or private organizations, including universities, clinics, units of State and local governments, and eligible agencies of the Federal Government. Under recently enacted reauthorization legislation, AHRQ is now authorized to enter into cooperative agreements with for-profit organizations, as well as with public and nonprofit entities. Thus, for-profit entities are encouraged to respond to the first two RFAs; only public and private nonprofit entities are eligible to apply in response to the third RFA (demonstration projects).

Systems-Related Best Practices to Improve Patient Safety. AHRQ is seeking proposals for research that will test the effectiveness of the transfer and application of "best practices" to improve patient safety through improvements in health care systems that will reduce preventable medical errors that are frequent and cause serious harm. As noted by AHRQ Director John M. Eisenberg, M.D., this RFA builds on the landmark research on errors funded by the Agency in the early 1990s. AHRQ will award up to $2 million in fiscal year 2000 to support four to six projects under this RFA (RFA-HS-00-007).

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 medical errors. 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.

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 that result from the use of the practices in a variety of settings. 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 multidisciplinary, 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.

Letters of intent are requested by March 10, 2000, and applications are due no later than April 27, 2000. For more information and application instructions, consult the RFA.

This RFA, "Systems-Related Best Practices to Improve Patient Safety" (RFA-HS-00-007), was published in the December 16, 1999, NIH Guide to Grants and Contracts.

Translating Research into Practice: Round II. AHRQ is seeking applications to conduct cooperative agreement demonstration projects that focus on evaluating different strategies for translating research into practice through partnerships. AHRQ will award up to $7 million in total costs in fiscal year 2000 to support the first year of approximately 12 to 18 projects under this RFA. This request builds on two earlier RFAs—Translating Research into Practice (TRIP) and Assessment of Quality Improvement Strategies in Health Care—which were published in January 1999, and projects resulting from these RFAs were recently funded by the Agency.

Partnerships between researchers and health care systems or organizations are a central component of this RFA. The objective is to accelerate and magnify the impact of the research on clinical practice and patient outcomes in health care settings. Of particular interest are health systems and organizations that use the strengths of information systems to implement strategies for quality improvement. The proposals should describe applied research with the objective of developing sustainable and reproducible strategies to translate evidence into practice.

Organizations that have already expressed an interest in entering into partnerships with researchers to evaluate efforts to translate research findings funded under this RFA include the Alliance Continuing Care Network, American Speech-Language Hearing Association, Clinical Directors' Network, Florida Association of Homes for the Aging, Ramah Navajo School Board, U.S. Quality Algorithms, and High Plains Research Network. A more complete list is included in the RFA. Investigators who receive funding under this RFA also are encouraged to take the initiative to develop and build on existing relationships they have with other organizations and systems.

Letters of intent to apply under this RFA are requested by March 10, 2000, and applications must be received by April 27, 2000. For more information and application instructions, consult the RFA.

This RFA, "Translating Research into Practice" (RFA-HS-00-008), was published in the December 16, 1999, NIH Guide to Grants and Contracts.

Making Quality Count for Consumers and Patients. AHRQ and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) are seeking applications for demonstration projects that facilitate consumer and patient use of information on quality in health care. These projects should develop and test methods and models for developing information on quality for consumer and patient use in health care decisions and evaluate the impact of strategies to provide information about quality to consumers and patients. AHRQ and NCI are especially interested in projects that focus on vulnerable populations as defined by the President's Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Health Care Industry.

This RFA draws on the outcomes of the December 1998 conference, "Making Quality Count: Helping Consumers Make Better Health Care Choices." The conference was coordinated by AHRQ, the Health Care Financing Administration, and the Office of Personnel Management, as part of the activities of the Quality Interagency Coordination Task Force (QuIC). The goal of the QuIC is to ensure that all Federal agencies involved in purchasing, regulating, providing, or studying health care are working in a coordinated way toward the common goal of improving the quality of care.

AHRQ expects to award up to $1.0 million and NCI expects to award up to $0.5 million in fiscal year 2000 to support the first year total costs for approximately three to four projects under this RFA. Letters of intent are requested by February 11, 2000, and applications are due by March 24, 2000. For more information and application instructions, consult the RFA.

This RFA, "Making Quality Count for Consumers and Patients" (HS-00-002), was published in the January 5, 2000, issue of the NIH Guide to Grants and Contracts.

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