Money for evidence-based research is now available

In last month’s QI/TQM cover story about the true costs of cutting costs, several sources interviewed by QI/TQM complained that evidence-based outcomes research was too expensive. The U.S. government felt your pain.

The government recently announced it plans to fund evidence-based practice centers (EPCs) to strengthen the scientific evidence base that health care organizations use to improve clinical practice.

The EPCs will produce evidence reports and technology assessments, providing health care systems, professional societies, purchasers, and others a scientific foundation for developing and implementing their own clinical practice guidelines, performance measures, and other clinical quality improvement tools.

The Rockville, MD-based Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR), a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will provide support for EPCs to produce evidence reports based on comprehensive reviews and rigorous analyses of the relevant scientific evidence — emphasizing explicit and detailed documentation of methods, rationale, and assumptions — and peer review.

The AHCPR is accepting ideas on an ongoing basis for potential topics to be studied. Nominations should focus on specific aspects of the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and/or management of a particular condition, or on an individual procedure, treatment, or technology.

In addition, the AHCPR released a request for proposals to receive EPC funding. The closing date for proposals is March 24.

For a copy of the topic nomination announcement, fax a request to (301) 594-4027. For a copy of the EPC request for proposal, send a written request to AHCPR Contracts Management Staff, Attention: Al Deal, Executive Office Center, Suite 601, 2101 E. Jefferson St., Rockville, MD 20852, or fax it to (301) 433-7523. Reference document AHCPR-97-0001.

In a separate move, the AHCPR awarded a three-year contract worth $5 million to Santa Barbara-based MEDSTAT to develop the Quality Measurement Network (QMNet). The goal of QMNet is to create a quality measurement information resource that aids in the identification and use of clinical performance measures in quality improvement efforts.