New AHRQ Grants Promote Solution-Driven Studies for Improving Care Quality

As healthcare costs have continued to climb for consumers, hospitals, and payers over the past 50 years, new programs are being created to search for solutions that promote safety and reduce costs. Recently, Healthcare Finance News reported on the latest program designed to target this issue from a care quality and workflow perspective.

In early September, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) announced it will offer grants of up to $1.5 million for research projects that examine patient safety in ambulatory care and long-term facilities. A major focus of the program is to develop strategies and tools to improve care quality and delivery. Their priority is to quickly implement the findings from this research while also promoting affordability, efficiency, and cost transparency.

According to the article, the studies may involve new or existing technologies designed to “improve the ability of staff and caregivers to prevent adverse events.” Grants will not exceed $500,000 in any given year, and will top out at $1,500,000 for the project period.

The new program hopes to address the gap that exists in research between realizing a problem and creating a solution. According to the agency, “While disparities in patient safety have been previously documented, studies have been limited with regard to study design and methods needed to generate the evidence regarding factors underlying disparities.”

Although submissions aren’t being accepted until January 2016, there are independent studies being done by institutions that realize the seriousness of these issues. One study which was completed in January 2015 looked at the impact of a new automated dispensing system on medication distribution and administration. The IMPROVE clinical study, conducted by Hackensack University Medical Center, found a 40% reduction in time from initial order to first dose administration of antibiotics. The study also found statistically significant improvement in nurse satisfaction regarding many workflow factors, including the effectiveness in reducing/preventing medication errors.

Related Articles:

Official AHRQ Announcement


HealthIT Analytics

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