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AHRQ is seeking partners for an integrated delivery system research network

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality is seeking research partners for a new Integrated Delivery System Research Network (IDSRN). The network will conduct high-priority research projects on a fast track. A synopsis of the Request for Proposals (RFP) was published in the February 8 online issue of the Commerce Business Daily. The RFP is open to managed care plans, vertically integrated hospital systems, large physician group practices, and other health care organizations with research and data capabilities. Potential applicants are encouraged to collaborate with academic institutions, consulting firms, or other research organizations in developing and submitting a proposal.

According to AHRQ Director John M. Eisenberg, M.D., one of the reasons for creating the IDSRN is the challenge posed by the rapid pace of market, organizational, and technological changes to developing effective strategies for conducting and disseminating research. AHRQ's partnerships with delivery systems will permit real-time evaluation of how these changes are affecting health care access, cost, and quality. Another factor behind creation of the IDSRN is the investment by integrated delivery systems in a health information infrastructure, which has produced a rich source of data for use in research.

It is anticipated that as many as five private-public research partners will receive awards funded at a total of approximately $4 million for the first 3-year period with an optional 2-year additional period funded at approximately $2 million. Applicants selected as designated IDSRN partners will have an opportunity to compete for funds to conduct research and demonstrations on select, high-priority topics.

Each of the IDSRN partners will be expected to have the capability to address a broad range of pressing questions relevant to health care management and public policy decisions within relatively short timeframes. Priority research projects may include evaluating the impact of specific clinical interventions, organizational strategies, and structures, and identifying organizational factors that facilitate timely diffusion of evidence from researchers to caregivers.

Applicants have 60 days from the issuance of the RFP (issued approximately February 25, 2000) to submit their proposals for designation as an IDSRN partner. Awards are expected to be announced in late July 2000.

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