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AHRQ Issues Third in a Series of Requests for Applications on Patient Safety Research

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Press Release Date: February 2, 2001

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is seeking applications from non-profit organizations, including universities, health care delivery systems, clinics and federal, state and local government agencies, to fund up to 13 cooperative agreements to sponsor demonstration projects that will assess the effectiveness of various methods of collecting and using information to reduce medical errors and their impact. AHRQ expects to award up to $25.0 million annually in fiscal years 2001-2003 to support these cooperative agreements under this Request for Applications (RFA), the third and by far the largest in a series of six RFAs to be released in FY 2001 under the Agency's new patient safety and medical errors research program.

AHRQ announced the first RFA in this series, which seeks to develop Centers of Excellence for Patient Safety Research and Practice, on October 26 , followed by the second RFA on November 13 to establish up to 10 new Developmental Centers for Evaluation and Research in Patient Safety (DCERPS). Future patient safety RFAs will focus on research related to the use of informatics to promote patient safety, the effect of working conditions on patient safety, and patient safety research dissemination and education.

The projects to be funded under this RFA are intended to evaluate what data should be collected, how it should be aggregated and analyzed, how it should be reported to provide useful information to those trying to reduce patient injuries from medical errors, and how it can be protected from unintentional disclosure. AHRQ expects award recipients to work with each other to test the effectiveness of various methods of collecting, analyzing, and reporting and using information on patient safety.

The projects are expected to last up to 3 years. In addition to evaluating error reporting systems that can collect and analyze data to identify risks to patient safety and develop effective methods of providing that information to providers and others, AHRQ seeks to test effective methods of telling patients and family members when an error has occurred that has resulted in harm to the patient. AHRQ also encourages ambulatory care practice-based research networks involved in patient safety data collection to submit applications focusing on medical errors and patient safety efforts in community-based ambulatory practice sites. AHRQ will set aside approximately $2 million per year to support projects that explicitly study medical errors and patient safety efforts in ambulatory care.

Letters of intent for the demonstration projects are due April 2, 2001; applications are due April 27, 2001. For additional information on this RFA, go to the February 2 NIH Guide at In addition, a special technical assistance workshop for interested applicants is scheduled for March 16, 2001 at AHRQ's offices.

Note to Editors: Effective January 17, AHRQ's Center for Quality Measurement and Improvement was renamed the Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety (CQuIPS—pronounced "see quips"). The new name of the center, which directed quality improvement research within AHRQ, reflects AHRQ's new responsibilities for patient safety and is consistent with the recommendations made by the Institute of Medicine in their landmark November 1999 report, "To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System." Specifically, CQuIPS will integrate patient safety activities into the broader quality framework at AHRQ, conduct research on how to reduce medical errors, convert those research findings into improved practices, and help educate patients about safety issues.

For more information, contact AHRQ Public Affairs (301) 427-1364.


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