Skip Navigation Archive: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Archive: Agency for Healthcare Research Quality
Archive print banner

AHRQ Seeks Best Practices and Innovative Strategies To Reduce Medical Errors and Improve Patient Safety

This information is for reference purposes only. It was current when produced and may now be outdated. Archive material is no longer maintained, and some links may not work. Persons with disabilities having difficulty accessing this information should contact us at: Let us know the nature of the problem, the Web address of what you want, and your contact information.

Please go to for current information.

Press Release Date: December 17, 1999

John M. Eisenberg, M.D., director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), today announced that the agency is seeking investigators to test the effectiveness of the transfer and application of "best practices" to improve patient safety by reducing preventable medical errors that are frequent and cause serious harm through improvement in health care systems. AHRQ will award up to $2 million in fiscal year 2000 to support 4 to 6 projects under this Request for Applications (RFA) entitled "Systems-related Best Practices to Improve Patient Safety." Letters of intent are due by March 10, 2000, and applications are due by April 27, 2000. Public and private for-profit and nonprofit organizations, including universities, clinics, state and local government units, nonprofit firms and nonprofit foundations may submit applications.

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 a medical error. 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.

"It's clear from the IOM report that we have an epidemic of medical errors in this country," said Dr. Eisenberg. "This RFA represents a small down payment on the investment this nation needs to eradicate this epidemic and ensure that patients are safe as they go through the health care system." Dr. Eisenberg noted that this RFA builds on the landmark research on errors funded by the Agency in the early 1990s.

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 across a variety of settings that result from their use. 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 multi-disciplinary, 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.

To obtain a copy of the RFA online, select "Systems-related Best Practices to Improve Patient Safety" on AHRQ's Web site at

For additional information, please contact AHRQ Public Affairs at (301) 427-1364: Nancy Comfort (301) 427-1866 (

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


AHRQ Advancing Excellence in Health Care