AHRQ to fund 4 health care IT research projects

AHRQ to fund 4 healthcare IT research projects

In an effort to improve healthcare quality, safety and overall advancement of the industry, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has announced plans to sponsor four research projects in the field of health information technology.

According to the organization, the funding will support fieldwork that analyzes safe practices among health IT as they relates to usability, implementation, design and safe use. Moreover, the goal is to create findings on optimized safety by both users and patients that could benefit the policies of major organizations. Among those listed are the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Food and Drug Administration and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health It.

Why health IT?
EHR Intelligence reported that the driving force behind funding these projects is to improve the safety of health IT use and better inform policy makers. The AHRQ believes that while the advancement of technology in the medical world has proven beneficial in many ways, there are still instances where it produces unfavorable results.

Research will be geared toward all traditional forms of health IT, as well as a wide range of other technologies, according to the organization. This is including, but not limited to, telemedicine, EMRs, EHRs, health information exchange platforms, consumer health informatics applications, clinical decision support systems and computerized physician order entry. The organization is calling for a need to improve the use and operation of these systems to better understand how they interact with users. Additionally, systems will be closely analyzed to establish the performance after implementation. Perhaps most significant is the push to understand how to address the causes of error.

For potential candidates
According to EHR Intelligence, the four project titles are, the Exploratory and Developmental Grant to Improve Health Care Quality through Health Information Technology (IT) (R21), the AHRQ Health Services Research Demonstration and Dissemination Grants (R18), the AHRQ Health Services Research Projects (R01) and the AHRQ Small Research Grant Program (R03). 

"User-centered research for patient-centered care uses of technology," is required of applicants looking to receive funding from, and work with, the AHRQ, according to the source.

Currently, the application is open to all potential candidates, with budget limitations and deadlines. To apply, a list of project aims and an abstract must be submitted. Though it is not a requirement, the organization has stated that they would prefer patient safety organization members. Stricter guidelines indicate that project members on two projects must be delivery organization personnel from the healthcare field and health IT vendors.