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AHCPR Announces Priorities for Grant-supported Research

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Press Release Date: March 26, 1998

The Federal government's Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) today called for researchers to submit applications for funding of studies that will support improvements in health outcomes and strengthen quality measurement and quality improvement, including research on organizational and financial aspects of health care. AHCPR also called for applications for projects that will identify strategies to improve access, foster appropriate use, and reduce unnecessary expenditures. Such projects include studies of the use of evidence-based practice information and tools, and of the characteristics of primary care practice. Select for Program Announcement 98-049.

"The work we support must provide the kind of scientific evidence that health systems leaders, clinicians, policymakers or individual patients and consumers need," said AHCPR's administrator, John M. Eisenberg, M.D. "This agency's goal is to ensure, in an increasingly market-based health care system, that state-of-the-art science drives informed decisionmaking."

Dr. Eisenberg added that AHCPR is particularly interested in studies producing findings in one to three years, and results that can rapidly be put into practice. Because of the complexity of the issues to be addressed, many studies require the involvement of behavioral and quantitative social scientists as well as health care professionals, according to Dr. Eisenberg. AHCPR's new research program announcement encourages applicants to address health issues specific to minorities, women and children in all priority areas.

Selected examples of the kinds of issues AHCPR wants studied include the:

  • Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of clinical and organizational interventions, with particular emphasis on the outcomes of care provided to the elderly and those with chronic diseases.
  • Effects of computerized decision-support systems, integrated information systems, electronic medical records and other information technology applications on improving quality of care.
  • Methods to implement evidence-based information and tools in diverse health care settings and populations.
  • Evaluation of outcomes, effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of clinical preventive services for people of all ages.
  • Development and testing of functional status and quality of life measures.
  • Adaptation of existing quality measures and development and validation of new measures for use with diseases, conditions and procedures where knowledge gaps exist.
  • Causes of variations in clinical practice.
  • Impact of trends in health care prices, costs and sources of payment.
  • New health care purchasing activities by employers, coalitions and governments, and their impact on managed care organizations, providers, employees and communities.
  • New and more effective ways to measure the range of health care costs.
  • Clinical decisionmaking in primary care.

AHCPR also invites proposals for studies involving two areas of growing importance: methodological advances in cost-effectiveness analysis, and research on ethical issues in health care delivery.

Applicants are encouraged to use data from AHCPR databases, such as the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey and the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, in their planned research projects, and to form partnerships with private and public organizations to facilitate the development and sharing of scientific knowledge and resources.

The program announcement also applies to applications for AHCPR grants for small projects, dissertation support, large and small conference grants and training support. The announcement is ongoing, meaning applicants can submit proposals on the standard receipt dates for Public Health Service research grants, which are February 1, June 1, and October 1 of each year. This contrasts with requests for applications (RFAs), which have set receipt dates and focus on selected research issues.

Although the announcement covers a broad range of issues, the agency will consider applications for research on other subjects, so long as they contribute to its goals and fall within its scope of interests.

Full details, including the names of agency staff members who can be contacted for further information, are in AHCPR Health Services Research—Program Announcement. In addition the AHCPR Publications Clearinghouse (write to P.O. Box 8547, Silver Spring, MD 20907-8547, or phone 800-358-9295) can supply the print version of the program announcement as well as all necessary applications forms and instructions.

For additional information, contact AHCPR Public Affairs: Salina V. Prasad, (301) 427-1864 (

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


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