NIH GUIDE, Volume 26, Number 9, March 21, 1997


P.T. 34


  Health Services Delivery 

  Grants Administration/Policy+ 


Agency for Health Care Policy and Research




The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) encourages

applications for the "AHCPR Small Project Grant Program" that address

the AHCPR strategic goals outlined below.  This program is described

in Program Announcement (PA) PAR-96-028, published in the NIH Guide

for Grants and Contracts, Vol. 25, No. 5, February 23, 1996.


AHCPR seeks to work with the research community in collaboration with

private and public organizations to generate and disseminate

information to assist health care providers/practitioners, plans,

purchasers, patients/consumers, and policymakers to achieve the goals

set out below:


o  Help consumers make more informed choices.


Identify patient/consumer needs, preferences, and uses of health care

information; develop ways of improving the salience of information

provided and consumers' ability to make decisions about health care

plans, providers, and services; and assess the impact of improved

consumer information on the quality and effectiveness of health care.


o  Determine what works best in clinical practice.


Evaluate the effectiveness and patient outcomes of alternative

approaches to the prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment, and

management of clinical conditions; synthesize and analyze evidence

about effective clinical practice; and establish the relative cost-

effectiveness of various treatments and strategies.


o  Measure and improve the quality of care.


Develop more refined quality of care measures and improvement

strategies; test the validity and reliability of measurement

instruments and facilitate their use in different delivery settings

and population subgroups; and assess the use of measures and tools in

performance management systems and quality improvement activities.


o  Monitor and evaluate health care delivery.


Analyze major factors affecting health care markets, such as health

insurance, demographics, and other demand factors, changing private

and public purchaser behavior, and changing legal and regulatory

structures; monitor and analyze changes in the structure,

organization and financial arrangements in these markets and the

organizations within them; monitor and evaluate the impact of

changing markets on health care delivery, access, quality, and cost;

and develop model data standards and comprehensive information

systems that facilitate study of how the health care system is



o  Improve the cost-effective use of health care resources.


Clarify, standardize, and improve cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness

analysis tools which can be used to better allocate resources; and

develop resource allocation and microsimulation models, and other

methodologies, which enable assessment of both the intended and

unintended social, ethical, legal, and distributional effects of

resource allocation decisions.


o  Assist health care policymaking.


Develop nationally representative information on the use and costs of

health services, including personal and public health services and

delivery systems; and seek more efficient ways for public and private

entities to collect and interpret health services data to enable

systematic analysis of the effects of changes in the health care

system on the health of the population and the effectiveness of

service delivery.


o  Build and sustain the health services research infrastructure.


Promote primary data collection, as well as secondary data analysis;

and development of research methodologies (methods, measures,

analytic tools) critical to advancement of the field of health

services research.


AHCPR particularly encourages projects on health issues that affect

minority populations, women, and children, including:  clinical

conditions prevalent among racial/ethnic minority populations or

unique to age or gender; disparities in access to care for minority

groups; the impact of particular market changes or delivery and

financing arrangements on minority populations, women, and children;

and the unique health care needs of children and other vulnerable



The PA describes the small project grant program, which provides

support for focused research projects, developmental studies, and

high-risk projects.  High-risk projects might employ techniques or

theories from other fields not traditionally linked to health

services research, including qualitative as well as quantitative



This grant program is particularly relevant for new investigators as

a means of encouraging individuals to enter the health services

research field.


Projects addressing the goals may draw on any appropriate data.  A

particularly rich data source is the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey

(MEPS) supported by AHCPR.  Data from the Household and Nursing Home

components will be available for use by researchers beginning in

March 1997, and available annually thereafter.  Researchers who are

interested in using these data for analyses to address project areas

are encouraged to do so.  Information on MEPS data is available from

Karen Beauregard, Center for Cost and Financing Studies, AHCPR,

Telephone: (301) 594-1406, ext. 1460.  AHCPR also encourages the use

of data from providers, managed care organizations, employers, and

other industry sources.




Applicants may obtain copies of the grant application kit and PA



Global Exchange, Inc.

7910 Woodmont Avenue, Suite 400

Bethesda, MD 20814-3015

Telephone: (301) 656-3100

FAX: (301) 652-5264


AHCPR welcomes the opportunity to clarify any issues or questions

from potential applicants.  Direct inquiries regarding program

matters to the contacts listed by specific program areas under




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