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AHRQ Announces New Research Priorities: Patient-Centered Care and Payment and Organization

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Press Release Date: August 1, 2001

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) today announced two new research priorities: studies that promote patient-centered care and studies that examine the impact of payment and organization on cost, quality and equity. These new priorities are described in two Program Announcements (PAs) published in the August 3 NIH Guide.

In its recent report, Crossing the Quality Chasm, the Institute of Medicine called for "action to improve the American health care delivery system as a whole, in all of its quality dimensions (i.e., efficiency, effectiveness, equitability, timeliness, patient-centeredness, and safety), for all Americans." The IOM noted that to a large extent, the gap between the health care we have and the health care we could have stems from the way we pay for care and the way we structure the organizations that provide it. Moreover, the IOM report noted, patients too often must adapt to the customs and usual procedures of health care organizations and professionals, rather than receiving services designed to focus on the individual's needs and preferences.

Research funded under the PA titled "Impact of Payment and Organization on Cost, Quality, and Equity" will provide the rigorous evidence base that policymakers and health system managers need to design new payment and reimbursement strategies, practical and effective risk adjustment methods, and changes in public and private purchasing efforts. It will also provide decisionmakers with the information they need to structure more efficient care processes; to improve coordination of care across patient conditions, services, and settings; and to develop networks, affiliations, and alliances to promote efficient and high quality health care.

For more information on this PA, go to the August 3 NIH Guide at

The PA titled "Patient-centered Care: Customizing Care to Meet Patients' Needs" is intended to support the redesign and evaluation of new care processes that lead to greater patient empowerment, improved patient-provider interaction, easier navigation through healthcare systems, and improved access, quality, and outcomes. Specific strategies could include, but are not limited to, electronic clinical communication, self-management programs, Web-based applications for patients and/or health care providers, and shared decision-making programs. AHRQ encourages projects that emphasize chronic illness, episodes of care that extend beyond hospitalization, longitudinal care, and priority populations.

For more information on this PA, go to the August 3 NIH Guide at Additional inquiries should be directed to Helen Burstin, (301) 427-1500 (


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