AHRQ awards $5M health IT contracts
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has awarded $5 million for two new health IT contracts that will focus on the development, adoption, implementation and evaluation of best practices using clinical decision support.

The Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn., have been selected to incorporate clinical decision support into widely used health IT products, demonstrate cross-platform utility and establish lessons learned for clinical decision support implementation across the health IT vendor community.

The projects will focus on translation of clinical guidelines and outcomes related to preventive healthcare and treatment of patients with multiple chronic illnesses and will evaluate clinicians' use of clinical decision support as well, according to AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, MD.

"These projects build on AHRQ's investment in health IT and the lessons that we have already learned from our grantees and contractors," Clancy said. "We hope that important lessons from this body of work will further enhance the nation's efforts to make evidence-based clinical knowledge more readily available to healthcare providers."

Researchers will build on evolving knowledge from development and implementation activities to define effective clinical decision support tools and identify preferred methods and processes for incorporating these tools into EMRs and in busy practice settings.

The research will assess potential benefits and drawbacks of clinical decision support services, including effects on patient satisfaction, measures of efficiency, cost and risk. Researchers also will evaluate methods of creating, storing and replicating clinical decision support elements across multiple clinical sites and ambulatory practices.

The projects will implement clinical decision support tools in products certified by the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology and will apply guidelines set by the American National Standards Institute's Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel.