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AHRQ to Support Centers of Excellence Under New Comprehensive Patient Safety Research Program

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Press Release Date: October 26, 2000

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is seeking applications from academic institutions, nonprofit organizations, and delivery systems to establish as many as six new Centers of Excellence for Patient Safety Research and Practice. AHRQ expects to award up to $5 million for this Request for Applications (RFA).

This RFA is the first in a series to be released under the Agency's new patient safety and medical errors research program. AHRQ plans to release another five patient safety RFAs in FY 2001. At the heart of this patient safety competitive demonstration program is a portfolio of projects to test the effectiveness, costs, and cost-effectiveness of diverse reporting strategies and information technology innovation on the identification, management, and reduction of medical errors.

"AHRQ's new patient safety research program is an investment in building the knowledge base for improving patient safety," said John M. Eisenberg, M.D., AHRQ's director. "The integrated activities funded under this program will take the health care system from knowing that medical errors are a problem to doing something to prevent them."

AHRQ's research program will address themes gathered from meetings with key stakeholders, public and private sector national summits, research-agenda sessions, and the report of the Quality Interagency Coordination (QuIC) Task Force, entitled, Doing What Counts for Patient Safety—Federal Actions to Reduce Medical Errors and Their Impact.

Projects funded under the Centers of Excellence for Patient Safety Research and Practice RFA should address a number of specific issues, including: (1) learning the most effective lessons from medical errors in order to improve patient safety; (2) developing a more complete understanding of the types and causes of medical error in a variety of settings, levels of care, and patient populations; (3) understanding the impact of systems and professional and organizational cultures on reducing medical errors and improving patient safety; and (4) describing and testing the role of informatics in improving clinical decisionmaking, reducing errors, and advancing patient safety.

AHRQ will also support a coordinating center to facilitate interaction between all entities funded under the Agency's patient safety programs. The coordinating center will help to ensure that the findings of the Centers of Excellence and those from other parts of the Agency's patient safety initiative are translated into measurable improvements in health care.

Letters of intent from the Centers of Excellence for Patient Safety Research and Practice RFA are due January 3, 2001; Applications are due January 24, 2001. Additional information on the RFA, go to the October 24, 2000, NIH Guide at

For more information, contact AHRQ Public Affairs (301) 427-1364: Karen J. Migdail, (301) 427-1855 (

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