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Develop, Implement, Maintain, and Assess a National Electronic Web-Based Morbidity and Mortality Conference Site

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Request for Proposals

Solicitation No. AHRQ-01-0011 (Full and Open Competition, with recommended small business goals)

Proposal Due Date Extended: April 17, 2001, 1:00 p.m. Local Time

Contracting Office: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Division of Contracts Management, 2101 East Jefferson Street, Suite 601, Rockville, MD 20852

The synopsis for this requirement was published in the Commerce Business Daily on February 6, 2001. The solicitation issue date is February 21, 2001. Full text can be downloaded; select to access Downloading Information. Printed copies are not available. If you have any trouble downloading this solicitation, please contact Sharon Williams, Contracting Officer, at

It is anticipated that a completion-type award will be made under this solicitation for a two-year period, with one option year.

Background and Purpose

A recent Institute of Medicine report (To Err is Human, Building a Safer Health System), noted medical errors as a significant source of excess morbidity, mortality, and costs. The report estimates that between 44,000 and 98,000 people die annually as a result of medical error. Costs associated with medical error are estimated to be between $17 billion and $29 billion annually with one half of these costs attributable to health care (Kohn).

As part of its reauthorization, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality is required to reduce errors in medicine by:

  1. Identifying the causes of preventable health care errors and patient injury in health care delivery.
  2. Developing, demonstrating, and evaluating strategies for reducing errors and improving patient safety.
  3. Disseminating such effective strategies throughout the health care industry.

In carrying out these responsibilities, the Agency has developed a coordinated plan for achieving these three goals that includes projects funded through both grant and contract mechanisms.

Through morbidity and mortality conferences, hospitals and medical schools have a rich tradition of clinicians critically appraising their performance in an attempt to learn from their mistakes. While these discussions are considered open to each institution's medical practitioners (i.e., staff and trainees), the discussion and lessons learned are not shared outside the institutional walls because of concerns about liability and patient confidentiality. This limitation severely constrains opportunities for learning within the overall medical community and subjects patients and practitioners alike to unnecessary and repetitive risk.

Health care is in need of a mechanism to promote widespread practitioner learning and to minimize patient exposure to risk. Some health care systems have developed programs to share experiences with errors that result in adverse events as well as those that are "near misses," e.g., the Veterans Health Administration. Some systems exist to share information regarding pharmaceutical use. However, there is no broad-based, general system by which clinicians may share their experiences with "near misses."

This project expands upon the Agency's activities to reduce error and improve the delivery of safe health care. It complements a series of solicitations that form an integrated set of activities to design and test best practices for reducing errors in multiple settings of care, develop the science base to inform these efforts, improve provider education to reduce errors, capitalize on the advances in information technology to translate proven effective strategies into widespread practice, and build the capacity to further reduce errors. In particular, this procurement complements the Patient Safety Research Dissemination and Education activities planned to fund researchers and organizations (e.g. professional associations, hospital groups, national organizations) to develop, demonstrate, and evaluate new approaches to improving provider education in order to reduce errors, such as using new knowledge on patient safety and to develop curricula, continuing education, simulation models, and other provider training strategies.

This project is an initial, focused effort that builds upon traditional, physician-operated morbidity and mortality conferences. The project's end products are intended to be used by physician trainees as well as practicing physicians. Based on the success of this project, the Agency may consider broadening its efforts to include similar activities for other disciplines (e.g., nursing).

The contract objectives are to:

  1. Develop, test, implement, and assess a national, Web-based, blame-free learning program for providers of health care that relies on reports of "near misses" and is modeled after and functions like hospital morbidity and mortality conferences.
  2. Advance learning from "near misses."
  3. Improve patient safety by reducing the risk for "near misses."

Downloading Information

Shift-click from this Web page: Your browser may support downloading the RFP and Amendment from this Web page. To download the RFP from this Web page, click on the following links with the right mouse button and select "Save Link As" (Netscape) or "Save Target As" (Internet Explorer). The RFP is available as WordPerfect® and PDF Files:

  • Develop, Implement, Maintain, and Assess a National Electronic Web-Based Morbidity and Mortality Conference Site: Request for Proposals (WordPerfect® file, 377 KB; PDF File, 208 KB).
  • Amendment 1-Questions and Answers; Changes to Statement of Work, Delivery Schedule, and Proposal Due Date (WordPerfect® file, 113 KB; PDF File, 94 KB).

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Current as of March 2001

The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


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