AHRQ awards more than $22.3 million for 'best practices'

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HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) last week announced the award of more than $22.3 million to 16 grantees to implement health information technology (health IT) systems to improve the safety and quality of healthcare.  These projects will contribute to AHRQ's capacity to learn from health IT implementation in clinical settings and to use the results from these real-world laboratories that are crucial to moving forward with broader implementation of health IT in American healthcare, the agency said.

"Sharing successful best practices will be valuable to providers nationwide seeking to implement health IT systems that will improve patient safety and reduce hassle," HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said. "These grants help move our healthcare system closer to making the medical clipboard a thing of the past."

The recipients were selected from a group of AHRQ grantees who received health IT planning funds in 2004. This additional funding will allow them to carry out the plans they developed in their earlier grants. Eleven of the 16 grants were awarded to small and rural communities-areas of special emphasis for AHRQ's health IT initiative.
       
"These expanded projects are an important success story for health IT," said AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, MD.  "These grantees started from scratch, many in rural and underserved areas, and in less than a year they've laid the groundwork to build valuable health IT systems in their communities. They will improve care for their own patients, and their experiences will help others learn how to build health IT systems and serve their patients better."

These awards join 40 implementation grant recipients announced by HHS last year.  With these 16 awards, AHRQ's investment in health IT totals more than $166 million.