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AHRQ Establishes Rapid-Response Research Network

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Press Release Date: August 15, 2000

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) today announced the award of contracts to nine research consortia to establish the Integrated Delivery System Research Network (IDSRN). This new model of field-based research, which links the nation's top researchers with the some of the country's largest health care systems, will enable AHRQ to accelerate the pace of its research on key concerns such as medical care quality and safety, access to services and costs. As a group, the network provides health services to over 34 million Americans, including the privately insured, Medicare and Medicaid patients, and the uninsured.

AHRQ Director John M. Eisenberg, M.D., said, "Today's fast-changing health care system demands an expedited research cycle to produce and disseminate timely scientific evidence about what works and doesn't work in health care. Not only will the IDSRN help us meet this challenge, but the richness and diversity of the affiliated health care systems will permit analysis of how medical care is delivered in every part of the United States, and to every kind of patient—men, women and children, young and old, poor and the more fortunate, insured and uninsured, rural and urban and minorities."

The members of the IDSRN members will compete among themselves for specific AHRQ projects on a variety of cutting-edge topics, which may include, for example, evaluating the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of clinical and technological interventions, as well as organizational structures and care payment strategies; developing new approaches for rapidly translating research into practice; and assessing information gaps and research needs. AHRQ plans to provide $4 million in support of the network over the next three years.

The network members and their partners are:

  • Abt Associates, Inc., Cambridge, Mass: The Health Services Research and Evaluation division of this consulting firm is partnering with the Geisinger Health System, which operates hospitals, over 100 clinics and a multi-speciality group practice with more than 300 physicians.
  • Center for Health Care Policy and Evaluation, Minneapolis, Minn: The Center is the independent research institute commissioned by UnitedHealth Group, which operates network-based health systems for individuals and employers in 50 U.S. markets and has more than 8.6 million enrollees. Partners are Allina Health Systems, which operates hospitals, clinics and a managed care health plan for residents of the upper Midwest; RAND and the Health Systems Innovation Network.
  • Denver Health, Denver, Colo: This health care provider serves poor, uninsured and minority patients through a 350-bed hospital, 11 community health centers, 12 school-based clinics, a public health department, five dental clinics, a substance abuse and mental health treatment clinic, a poison center and several managed care insurance products. Partners are the Colorado Health Outcomes Program of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and the Colorado Prevention Program.
  • Kaiser Foundation Research Institute, Oakland, Calif: This foundation is part of Kaiser Permanente of Northern California, which operates group and staff-model HMOs in many parts of the United States. Partners are the Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound; Kaiser Permanente of Southern California; Kaiser Permanente Northwest; the Kaiser Permanente plans of Georgia, Hawaii, and Colorado; Harvard Pilgrim Health Care; Health Partners Research Foundation; Henry Ford Health Systems; Lovelace Clinic Foundation and the Fallon Health System.
  • Research Triangle Institute, Research Triangle, NC: This research center's partners are Intermountain Health Care, Inc., a fully integrated health care delivery organization serving residents of small and medium-sized cities and large rural areas in Rocky Mountain states, including Native Americans; CareOregon; Summa Health System; Providence Health System; UNC Health Care; the MayaTech Corporation; the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  • USQA Center for Health Care Research, Atlanta, GA: This is a subsidiary of Aetna U.S. Healthcare, one of the largest managed care companies in the nation with more than 20 million enrollees in a variety of plans.
  • Marshfield Medical Research and Education Foundation, Marshfield, Wis: This is the research division of Marshfield Clinic, one of the nation's largest physician-directed group practices and the first rural HMO. Partners are the Project HOPE Center for Health Affairs and CODA, Inc., a social and biomedical research company.
  • University of Minnesota Division of Health Services Research and Policy, Minneapolis, Minn: Partners are Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota; the Medical Group Management Association Center for Research; Health Partners Research Foundation; Delta Rural Health Consulting and Research and the Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement of HealthSystem Minnesota.
  • Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, NY: The college and its partners include a hospital system that treats a large number of racial and ethnic minority patients, as well as many uninsured patients. Partners are the University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell; the Joseph L. Mailman School of Public Health of Columbia University; North Shore University Hospital; Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Health Watch and members of the New York Presbyterian Healthcare System.

For more information, contact AHRQ Public Affairs, (301) 427-1364: Bob Isquith, (301) 427-1539 (

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