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Developmental Centers for Evaluation and Research in Patient Safety

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Technical Assistance Workshop

This document summarizes the technical assistance (TA) workshop for the Developmental Centers for Evaluation and Research in Patient Safety (DCERPS) request for applications (RFA). Select to access the RFA.

The technical assistance workshop was held at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) conference center in Rockville, MD, on December 15, 2000.

This is the text version of the slide presentation. Select to access the PowerPoint® slides (80 KB). PowerPoint® files can be viewed with the free PowerPoint® Viewer

Slide 1


Shana Christrup, M.P.H.
Friday, December 15
6010 Executive Boulevard
Rockville, MD

Slide 2


  • This RFA is one of 6 patient safety RFAs to be released by the Agency this fiscal year.
  • Other RFAs include:
    • Centers of Excellence for Patient Safety Research and Practice.
    • Health System Error Reporting, Analysis, and Safety Improvement Demonstrations.
    • Clinical Informatics to Promote Patient Safety (CLIPS).
    • Effect of Working Conditions on Patient Safety.
    • Patient Safety Research Dissemination and Education.

Slide 3

Background Information for DCERPS

  • Goal: To build the capacity of patient safety research.
    • Multidisciplinary Team Building.
    • Ties to the Delivery System.
    • Educational programs (importance and evidence).
  • Research Areas:
    • Learning from Errors and Communicating that Information.
    • Epidemiology of Errors.
    • Systems and Cultures.
    • Informatics.

Slide 4

Overview of the DCERPS RFA

  • P20 mechanism (great flexibility).
  • Funding for up to 3 years.
  • Direct and indirect costs per year: ~$200,000 ($2 mill for ~10 centers)—disclaimer.
  • 2 phases.
    • Planning phase (up to one year).
    • Pilot project phase.
  • Minority set aside for three centers that collaborate directly with researchers from HBCUs [Historically Black Colleges or Universities] and HSIs [ Hispanic Serving Institutions].
    • See
    • Handouts at back of the room.

Slide 5

Overview of the DCERPS RFA

  • Letter of Intent receipt date: January 3, 2001.
  • Application receipt date: January 24, 2001.
  • Grant application form (PHS 398) is available at
  • Application kits are available from:
    Division of Extramural Outreach and Information Resources, National Institutes of Health (NIH)
    6701 Rockledge Drive
    MSC 7910
    Bethesda, MD
  • We're not kidding about the fonts!

Slide 6

Overview of the DCERPS RFA

  • Applicants should review the research agenda from the National Summit on Medical Errors and Patient Safety Research.
    • Concentrates on projects w/in the following areas:
      • Epidemiology of Errors.
      • Infrastructure to Improve Patient Safety.
      • Information Systems.
      • Knowing Which Interventions Should be Adopted.
      • Adoption Issues.
      • Using the Information, Transition Issues.
      • Ongoing Issues.
      • Mechanism.

Slide 7

Overview of the DCERPS RFA

  • Applicants will be expected to
    • Work with the coordinating center.
    • Complete one site visit at the close of Phase I.
    • Attend 2 meetings established by the coordinating center.

Slide 8

Centers of Excellence vs. DCERPS


  • Experienced researchers.
  • Up to 5 year grant, $5M, 4-6 centers.
  • 4-6 major research projects, three concurrently running, no planning phase.
  • Fueling engine.
  • Product: Projects.


  • "New" researchers.
    • New to research or to the PS area.
  • Up to 3 year grant, $2M, 10 centers.
  • One "pilot study" required at the end of the planning phase (up to one year).
  • Building engine.
  • Product: Capacity.

Slide 9

Can the Principal Investigator (PI) shift between Phase I & II?

  • Technically, yes.
  • Probably would not want that to happen.
    • Reviewers might not look favorably.
      • Credentials issue.
      • "Changing of the guard."
      • "Front end" and "back end" incompatibilities.

Slide 10

What level of seniority is preferred for the Planning Director (PD)?

  • Your decision.
  • Encouragement for new researchers.
  • Would be leading a pilot project.
  • Should be the person who would lead your future research efforts.

Slide 11

Can we fund junior members?

  • Yes —"other justifiable operating expenses of the planning effort"
    • Still need some in-kind contribution.
      • Recognize that it is most likely to come from the PI or other senior staff.
    • Would need to justify the amount of time/money dedicated to the junior members of the research team.

Slide 12

What is the "best" approach to the pilot projects?

  • Depends on where you are.
  • Proposals are a guide to where you would like to be after phase I, must match the phase I activities to your research areas.
  • Should look at various areas/collaborations/topics.
  • Pilot projects are not formally reviewed.
  • Pilot projects are non-binding.

Slide 13

Is the description of the proposed research projects included in the page limit?

  • Yes.
  • Not formally evaluated.
  • Used for determining program balance.
  • May not want to use the 3-page maximum.

Slide 14

Can applicants apply from other federal sectors?

  • Yes, but...
  • The Federal institution must ensure that its own legislation allows it to receive PHS grant funds.
  • An interested party may want to apply through a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) or Department of Defense (DoD) Research Foundation which is designed to administer grants in conjunction with a VA or DoD hospital. In this case, personnel would be employees of the foundation and the limitations on allowable costs are no different from any other non-profit organization.
  • Additionally, no career status employees may receive salary support except under specific circumstances; only people hired specifically for the grant may be supported.

Slide 15

I am a for-profit organization. How can I contribute and get involved?

  • You must partner with a non-profit group as either a member of a consortia or as a subcontractor.

Slide 16

Will AHRQ accept an application from a hospital rather than a system-wide organization?

  • An organization must be a non-profit to submit an application (or partner as part of a consortia or subcontractor).
  • The special review criteria address, among other things, generalizability. A single hospital would be less likely to meet that criteria.

Slide 17

Does the coordinating center only interact with the DCERPS grantees?

  • NO—the coordinating center will be working with:
    • Grantees from most/all of the patient safety focused RFAs released or to be released this year.
    • Systems-related best practices grantees (6 grants awarded last year).

Slide 18

Who or what type of entity would be potential candidates for the coordinating center?

  • Not clear at this time.
  • Contract, but it has not been circulated.
  • Coordinating Center will not be one of the Centers funded under this family of RFAs.
  • Separate evaluation contract will also be let.

Slide 19

Can we apply for the DCERPS and still collaborate with a Center?

  • Yes.
  • Need to make sure that the proposed projects are mutually exclusive, Must be clear that no duplicative work is being conducted/funded.
    • Content of work.
    • Staff time.

Slide 20

What is the new Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval process? Does it apply to this grant?

Slide 21

How should I formulate my budget, especially for Phase II?

  • Phase II budget is projected, rather than absolute (but funds available is not likely to change).
  • P. 13 describes the specific budget possibilities.

Slide 22

What are some of the potential educational materials?

  • Anything that helped you inform individuals about the importance of the issue and the evidence-based mechanisms to improve.
    • Information distributed for "buy in."
    • Information collected in determining the evidence-based method for moving forward.
  • Can be targeted toward "internal" research team or "external" members.
  • Final deliverable.

Slide 23

What are appropriate delivery systems? Why is there a requirement for formal data sharing?

  • An appropriate delivery system would be any delivery system that provided direct patient care.
    • May want to look at issues of generalizability.
  • The formal data sharing agreement helps solidify your relationship.
    • Have seen some reluctance for sharing of information within delivery systems.

Slide 24

Can supplemental funding be obtained from sources other than AHRQ?

  • Yes but
    • Award by AHRQ cannot depend on the potential funding from another source.
    • If funding from AHRQ and another source are required to complete the program, the other/supplemental funding must have provided a positive confirmation of funding as part of the application to AHRQ.

Slide 25

How do we compete for minority set-asides?

  • Minority set aside for three centers that collaborate directly with researchers from HBCUs and HSIs.
  • Needs to be acknowledged explicitly in application.
  • Would initially compete in the set aside pool and then later compete in the overall pool.
  • Lists available at the back of the room.

Slide 26

What is meant by "program balance"?

  • Trying to achieve "spread" of capacity.
    • Across geography.
    • Across research focus.
    • Across populations.
    • Across settings of care.

Slide 27

Does a Center have to be under one roof?

  • No.
    • "Virtual centers" are acceptable.
    • Need to demonstrate plan to develop functional linkages between components of virtual centers.

Slide 28

Next steps

  • November 30 meeting DRAFT summary, available Monday, December 18.
    • Sign up sheet in back if you would like me to E-mail you the Word® document.
  • Sign up sheet.
  • Any further questions or comments, please contact me.
    • 301-594-6673 or
    • Will be on vacation from Saturday, December 23 through Monday, January 1.

Developmental Centers for Evaluation and Research in Patient Safety

Current as of December 2000


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


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