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AHRQ announces priority interests for grant-supported research

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has issued a program announcement detailing the Agency's priority interests for research, demonstration, dissemination, and evaluation projects. Researchers should use these priorities to guide their development of investigator-initiated grant applications.

AHRQ is interested in research on a wide range of topics organized under the Agency's priority program areas: supporting improvements in health outcomes, strengthening quality measurement and improvement, and identifying strategies to improve access, foster appropriate use, and reduce unnecessary expenditures. Potential research topics include:

  • Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of clinical and organizational interventions.
  • Ways to assess the impact of diagnostic and other health care technologies on cost and patient outcomes, and how to prioritize such assessments.
  • Development and testing of practical, ready-to-use outcomes measures addressing functional status, quality of life, and severity and risk adjustment.
  • Development of innovative approaches to measuring quality, including the perspectives of providers, patients, and consumers.
  • Methods for optimal systematic reviews of evidence, including methodological research on meta-analysis, decision analysis, and cost-effectiveness analysis.
  • Interventions to address specific patient barriers to preventive care, with specific focus on vulnerable populations—including older women—who may receive fewer and lower quality services.
  • Studies of major changes in health care markets.
  • Studies of how variations in health care organizations, structure, and delivery affect care in terms of outcomes, quality, access, cost, and use.
  • Characteristics of primary care practice that lead to improvements in outcomes and quality of care.

AHRQ encourages research using data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP), and other AHRQ data.

AHRQ's research agenda includes a special focus for health services research on a number of populations: low-income groups, racial and ethnic minority groups, women, children, the elderly, individuals with special health care needs, and people living in inner-city, rural, and frontier areas.

AHRQ also encourages partnerships with public and private organizations to facilitate development and sharing of scientific knowledge and resources, including cost-sharing mechanisms; projects that will produce results within 2-3 years; and results that can be integrated rapidly into practice and policy. Research topics in areas that are not discussed in the program announcement also will be considered, but they must contribute to the Agency's goals and initiatives.

Full details, including the names of Agency staff who can be contacted for further information can be found online at Funding Opportunities (see PA-00-111).

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