Special Emphasis Notice: Research Priorities for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Notice Number: NOT-HS-05-005

Key Dates
Release Date: November 30, 2004

Issued by
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), (http://www.ahrq.gov)

The mission of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is to improve the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of healthcare for all Americans, through the establishment of a broad base of scientific research and through the promotion of improvements in clinical and health systems practices, including the prevention of diseases and other health conditions. AHRQ achieves this mission through health services research designed to (1) improve clinical practice, (2) improve the health care system's ability to provide access to and deliver high quality, high-value health care, and (3) provide policymakers with the ability to assess the impact of system changes on outcomes, quality, access to, cost, and use of health care services.

Due to limitations on available grant funds for fiscal year 2005, AHRQ has published a notice limiting grant funds on large research grant applications to $300,000 total costs (direct and indirect) per year and $100,000 total costs per year for large conference grant applications http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-HS-04-007.html. With this notice, AHRQ provides information about the highest research priorities for unsolicited applications for fiscal year 2005. AHRQ will continue to provide regular updates of research priorities as research budget information becomes available. Applications focused on priority areas identified in this Special Emphasis Notice may be submitted on regular research and training grant application receipt dates and will be reviewed by standing AHRQ study sections. Application mechanisms currently accepted by AHRQ include R01, R03, R13, R18, K02, K08, F31, F32, and R36 applications. Funding announcements for these mechanisms can be found at http://www.ahrq.gov/fund/. Specific research foci are listed below.

Translating Research into Practice and Policy

AHRQ's mission includes a significant commitment to translating research into practice and policy (TRIPP). Applicants are encouraged to conduct innovative and rigorous research and evaluation projects related to the translation of research findings into measurable improvements in quality, patient safety, healthcare outcomes and cost, use, and access. AHRQ is interested in projects that:

For all three types of projects identified above AHRQ encourages strong involvement of operational leadership.

Patient Safety and Quality

One of the important elements in the AHRQ mission is to support the development of multi-disciplinary research teams in building the knowledge base on the scope and impact of medical errors, particularly for diverse care settings and populations, identify the root causes of threats to patient safety and effective system approaches to prevent the occurrence of errors, study the effectiveness of various interventions to capture information on medical errors, evaluate the implementation of information technology to reduce errors and increase efficiency, and disseminate and evaluate the outcomes of promising interventions in a variety of health care settings and across a variety of health care professions.

Patient-Centered Care

One critical set of issues facing public and private policymakers concerns the challenge of designing patient-centered processes to improve the quality and safety of care delivery. Patient-centered care is defined as health care that establishes a partnership among practitioners, patients and their families (when appropriate) to ensure that decisions respond to and respect patients' wants, needs and preferences and solicit patients' input on the education and support they need to make decisions and participate in their own care.

Essential dimensions of patient-centered care include but are not limited to: 1) accessible and customized information, communication, and education; 2) continuous collaboration, coordination and integration of care among providers, across conditions and settings; 3) shared decision-making of clinicians with patients and their families; 4) self-efficacy and self-management skills for patients; 5) patients' experience of care; 6) provider-patient partnership; and, 7) enhanced cultural competence of health care providers. AHRQ is interested in patient-centered care research focusing on the redesign and evaluation of new care processes that lead to greater patient empowerment, improved patient-provider interaction, easier navigation through healthcare systems, and improved access, quality, and outcomes. Specific strategies could include, but are not limited to, electronic clinical communication, self-management programs, web-based applications for patients and/or health care providers, and shared decision-making programs.

Researchers are encouraged to propose projects that emphasize chronic illness, episodes of care that extend beyond hospitalization, longitudinal care, and priority populations (e.g., inner-city areas; rural areas, including frontier areas; low-income groups; minority groups; women; children; the elderly; and individuals with special health care needs, including individuals with disabilities and individuals who need chronic care or end-of-life health care). Development and evaluation of new approaches to promote patient-centered care as well as projects that expand and evaluate the use of programs previously found to be promising in select settings and circumstances are encouraged.

Payment and Organization

The dilemma currently facing America is how to improve health care quality and access while costs continue to soar. There is now a recognition that a first fundamental step in dealing with this dilemma is through innovations in organization and payment structures. To understand the impact of changes in organizational structure and processes, new technologies, and management innovations, and to discover ways to create a less wasteful and higher‑quality health system, AHRQ encourages research on system design and change as well as processes resulting in planned and unplanned change . Evaluation of innovations led by public and private sector leaders are of particular interest. For example, evaluation of innovations in prescription drug payments and cost-sharing, value-based purchasing, pay-for-performance incentives , state malpractice reforms and response to Health Savings Accounts or consumer directed health options is of interest.

Applicants can find the PHS 398 Grant Application form and instructions at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html.

Within the past year, AHRQ has implemented a policy regarding the inclusion of priority populations in extramural research projects. This notice is available at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-HS-03-010.html.

Applicants are encouraged to contact AHRQ staff listed below early in the process of preparing applications in order to clarify questions and discuss potential research projects. This may facilitate discussion of potential co-sponsorship opportunities.

Translating Research into Practice and Policy:

Margaret Coopey, R.N., M.G.A., M.P.S.
Center for Outcomes and Evidence
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
540 Gaither Road
Rockville, MD 20850
Telephone: 301-427-1488
FAX: 301-427-1520
Email: mcoopey@ahrq.gov

or

Michael I. Harrison, Ph.D.
Center for Delivery, Organization, and Markets
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
540 Gaither Road
Rockville, MD 20850
Telephone: 301-427-1419
FAX: 301-427-1430
Email: mharriso@ahrq.gov

Patient Safety and Quality:

Eileen M. Hogan, M.P.A.
Project Officer
Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
540 Gaither Road
Rockville, MD 20850
Telephone: (301) 427-1307
FAX: (301) 427-1341
Email: PSImplement@ahrq.gov

or

Deborah Queenan, M.S.W.
Project Officer
Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
540 Gaither Road
Rockville, MD 20850
Telephone: (301) 427-1330
FAX: (301) 427-1341
Email: PSImplement@ahrq.gov

Patient-Centered Care:

Ronda Hughes, Ph.D.
Center for Primary Care, Prevention, and Clinical Partnerships
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
540 Gaither Road
Rockville, MD 20852
Telephone: (301) 427-1578
Fax: (301) 427-1595
Email: rhughes@ahrq.gov

Payment and Organization:

Ryan Mutter
Center for Delivery, Organization, and Markets
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
540 Gaither Road
Rockville, MD 20850
Telephone: 301-427-1419
FAX: 301-427-1430
Email: rmutter@ahrq.gov

or

Joel W. Cohen, Ph.D.
Director, Division of Social and Economic Research
Center for Financing, Access, and Cost Trends
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
540 Gaither Road
Rockville, MD 20852
Telephone: (301) 427-1659
Fax: (301) 427-1276
Email: jcohen@ahrq.gov

Questions about AHRQ's extramural research program can be directed to:

Debbie Rothstein, Ph.D.
Senior Advisor, Extramural Research
Office of Extramural Research, Education, and Priority Populations
540 Gaither Road
Rockville, MD 20850
Telephone: (301) 427-1525
FAX: (301) 427-1562
Email: drothste@ahrq.gov

Questions about grant application receipt and referral can be directed to:

Gerald Calderone, Ph.D.
Referral Officer
Office of Extramural Research, Education, and Priority Populations
540 Gaither Road
Rockville, MD 20850
Telephone: (301) 427-1548
FAX: (301) 427-1562
Email: gcaldero@ahrq.gov


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