Special Emphasis Notice: AHRQ Announces Interest in Career Development (K01, K02, K08) and Dissertation (R36) Grants focused on Health Information Technology (IT)

Notice Number: NOT-HS-11-016

Update: The following update relating to this announcement has been issued:

Key Dates
Release Date: June 9, 2011

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

Background:

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.  AHRQ achieves this mission by supporting a broad program of health services research and by working with partners to promote improvements in clinical and health systems practices that benefit patients.

AHRQ’s Health Information Technology (Health IT) Portfolio is part of the Nation’s strategy to put information technology to work in health care. 

In order to grow research capacity in the application of information technology in health care, AHRQ intends to support research career development grants (K01, K02, and K08) and dissertation grants (R36) focusing on health IT.

Health IT is broadly defined as the use of information and communication technology in health care to support the delivery of patient or population care or to support patient self-management.  Health IT can support patient care related activities such as order communications, results reporting, care planning and clinical or health documentation (Shortliffe EH and JJ Cimino, “Biomedical Informatics: Computer Applications in Health Care and Biomedicine.” Third Edition. 2006).  Examples of health IT applications are electronic health records (EHR), electronic medical records (EMR), personal health records (PHR), telemedicine, clinical alerts and reminders, computerized provider order entry, computerized clinical decision support systems, consumer health informatics applications, and electronic exchange of health information.

Research Areas of Focus:

These grants will support the career development of clinical and research doctorates focusing their research on one of three health IT research areas.  Each application must clearly identify one of them as the primary research area to be addressed.  Given the breadth of each of these research areas and the limitation on time and financial resources of a single career or dissertation grant, one grant is not expected to single-handedly address all elements of a health IT research area.  Rather, an applicant must describe how coursework, research, and/or mentorship, as appropriate, will provide a foundation and generate knowledge regarding elements of that research area.  The three health IT research areas are:

  1. Health IT to improve the quality and safety of medication management; this includes the utilization of medication management systems and technologies; ambulatory health care providers and out-patient pharmacists’ use of electronic prescribing systems and/or medication management technologies; integration of evidence-based decision support for priority conditions within electronic prescribing systems; and, providing patients electronic tools to support medication self-management.
  2. Health IT to support patient-centered care; this includes, but is not limited to, a focus on the coordination of care across transitions in care settings and the use of electronic exchange of health information to improve quality of care. Patient-centered care is responsive to the needs and preferences of individual patients, provides patients and/or their caregivers with access to their medical information, facilitates communication between patients, caregivers and providers, and empowers patients to be active participants in care decisions and in the daily management of their health and illnesses.
  3. Health IT to improve health care decision making; this includes the development, implementation, and integration of health IT systems or applications through the use of integrated data and knowledge management. AHRQ encourages research projects and career development that will use health IT applications that apply principles to evidence-based medicine including the use of the best available evidence, health care providers’ ability to execute their best judgment, and consideration of patients’ expressed treatment preferences.

AHRQ is particularly interested in funding projects that fill known gaps in the field for each of the three research areas outlined above.  For specific priority areas applicants are encouraged to review health IT evidence reports available at: http://www.ahrq.gov/clinic/epcindex.htm#infotech.  In addition, applicants should review specific research topics of interest outlined in the recently published health IT funding opportunity announcements available at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-11-198.html and http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-11-199.html.

Settings. Research projects responsive to this SEN must focus on development, implementation or use of health IT in across settings of care, which may include long-term care facilities, skilled nursing facilities, patients’ homes, outpatient clinics and inpatient care settings.  The Health IT Portfolio has a particular interest in funding projects focused in ambulatory care settings and transitions in care between ambulatory or ambulatory and inpatient settings.

For more information about Health IT funding announcements go to: http://healthit.ahrq.gov/healthitfoas. To learn more about AHRQ’s funding opportunity announcements, go to http://www.ahrq.gov/fund/grantix.htm.

Further guidance:

Use of Funding Mechanisms.  AHRQ will use its current career development mechanisms -- the K01, K02, and K08 -- and its current dissertation grant mechanism --the R36.

Timeline Limitations.  Career development grant applications will be funded for 3-5 years.  Dissertation grant applications will be funded for 9 to 17 months.

Application Submission.  With this notice, AHRQ is providing information about one of the highest research priorities for unsolicited applications.  AHRQ will continue to provide regular updates of research priorities as research budget information becomes available.  Applications focused on areas identified in this SEN should be submitted on regular research career development or dissertation grant receipt dates and will be reviewed by AHRQ’s standing study sections.  Information about the grant application process, including e-grant applications and the funding mechanisms noted above, can be found at http://www.ahrq.gov/fund/.

Inquiries

The AHRQ designated contacts for this SEN are:

AHRQ Health IT Program inquiries:
           
Angela Lavanderos

            Center for Primary Care, Prevention and Clinical Partnerships
            Phone:  301-427-1505
            E-mail: angela.lavanderos@ahrq.hhs.gov          

K01, K02, and K08 inquiries:

            Kay Anderson, Ph.D.
            Office of Extramural Research, Education, and Priority Populations
            Phone:  301-427-1555
            E-mail:  kay.anderson@ahrq.hhs.gov

R36 inquiries:

Brenda Harding, M.A.
Office of Extramural Research, Education and Priority Populations
Phone:  (301) 427-1527
Email: brenda.harding@ahrq.hhs.gov

Applicants are encouraged to contact the designated AHRQ staff early in the process of preparing applications in order to clarify questions and discuss potential research projects. 


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