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AHRQ has funded nearly 100 research projects focused on improving patient safety

In fiscal year 2002, Congress designated $50 million of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's $270 million budget for patient safety research initiatives, making AHRQ the world's largest supporter of patient safety research. To date AHRQ has funded 94 projects to increase the Nation's capacity to conduct patient safety research, according to Gregg S. Meyer, M.D., M.Sc., formerly the director of AHRQ's Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety, and former AHRQ researcher Christina Rall.

AHRQ-funded research initiatives range from evaluations of State-wide patient safety reporting systems to informatics-based interventions in small clinics. The research settings are diverse, including hospitals, clinics and physicians' offices, acute care facilities, nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, home care programs, and hospice care.

AHRQ grantees and other experts recently gathered at the conference, "Making the Health Care System Safer," which was designed to facilitate collaboration among researchers and others in the field and implementation of patient safety initiatives in patient care settings. A coordinating center serves as a central information source for investigators as well as a forum for communication that can multiply the success of individual initiatives. In addition, AHRQ's Stanford-University of California-San Francisco Evidence-based Practice Center's recent review of the literature on safety practices resulted in the report, Making Health Care Safer.

AHRQ's future safety-related products, which will begin to be available in early 2003, include the first National Healthcare Quality Report, mandated by Congress in the Agency's reauthorization legislation; the "Web M&M," a national Web-based repository of information on medical errors; a new tool for assessing the safety culture of health care organizations; and an Institute of Medicine project on data standardization. The Agency will continue to nurture partnerships to enhance patient safety with other government agencies and private-sector entities.

See "Use of evidence-based data to drive your patient safety program," by Drs. Meyer and Rall, in the August 2002 American Journal of Infection Control 30, pp. 314-317.

Reprints (AHRQ Publication No. 02-R096) are available from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse.

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