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Fifth in a Series of Requests for Applications on Patient Safety Research Issued by AHRQ Focuses on Working Conditions

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Press Release Date: March 27, 2001

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is seeking applications from non-profit organizations, including universities, clinics, health care organizations and federal, state and local government agencies, to fund studies on how working conditions affect the ability of health care workers to provide safe, high quality care. AHRQ expects to award up to $7.5 million to support the first year costs of approximately 20 projects under this Request for Applications (RFA), the fifth in a series of six RFAs to be released in FY 2001 under the Agency's new patient safety and medical errors research program.

The research grants to be awarded under this RFA are intended to (1) explore the relationship between working conditions that affect health care workers and the safety and quality of care they provide, and (2) test innovative approaches to working conditions that have been effective in improving the quality of a product or service in other industries.

The Agency is interested in applications that assess the relationship between working conditions, including the physical environment, workflow design, workforce staffing, and organizational culture, on the safety and quality of care delivered in various health care settings. The Agency is also interested in applications that will measure the effect of aspects of the physical environment and workflow design; the effect of work hours and work staffing on the quality of care; and the effect of organizational culture that significantly impact on safety and quality of care.

Up to $3 million total costs will be set aside for applications from health care organizations, such as professional societies and organizations of health care workers, that test the impact of applying innovative approaches to working conditions that have been effective in improving the quality of a product or service in industries other than health care. There will also be $500,000 set aside for applications from existing primary care Practice-Based Research Networks (PBRNs). At least $2 million will go to projects focused on patient safety, while the remainder will go to projects more generally focused on quality of care.

With the announcement of the RFA on the effect of working conditions on patient safety, the Agency has now released the fifth in its series of integrated RFAs aimed at improving patient safety and reducing errors. The fourth RFA, announced February 23, 2001, will fund demonstration projects that use clinical informatics to promote patient safety (CLIPS). The third RFA, announced February 2, 2001, will fund up to 13 cooperative agreements for demonstration projects that assess the effectiveness of various methods of collecting and using information to reduce medical errors and their impact. The first two RFAs, announced last year, will fund Centers of Excellence for Patient Safety and Practice, and Developmental Centers for Evaluation and Research in Patient Safety (DCERPS). The final patient safety RFA will focus on patient safety research dissemination and education.

Letters of intent for the demonstration projects are due April 20, 2001; applications are due May 21, 2001. For additional information on this RFA, go to the March 30 NIH Guide at In addition, a special technical assistance workshop is scheduled for April 16, 2001, at AHRQ's offices; call Kelly Morgan in the Center for Primary Care Research at (301) 427-1570 or E-mail

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


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