AHRQ worked in partnership with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT and CMS to support rapid cycle research on Stage 3 of the Meaningful Use (MU) incentive program. In 2013 AHRQ awarded 12 grants and contracts under two Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) to evaluate the proposed Stage 3 objectives: Policy Relevant Evaluations to Inform Development of Health IT Meaningful Use Objectives (R18) and ACTION II - Accelerating Change and Transformation in Organizations and Networks. The projects evaluated the MU objectives and proposed strategies to improve them at the policy level, including electronic health record innovations to meet the proposed objectives, and suggestions to increase the benefit of the objectives in primary care practices.
Pathways to Quality Measurement Through Health IT was a 2-year, AHRQ-sponsored initiative that supported advancements in health IT-enabled quality measurement. The initiative identified and reported on strategies, health services infrastructure, and research challenges related to these measures. Reports and other materials produced by this initiative informed the development of a strategic plan to improve health care quality enabled by health IT.
The Electronic Data Methods (EDM) Forum was established in 2010 as a cooperative agreement with AHRQ to advance the national dialogue on the use of electronic health data for research and quality improvement. The EDM Forum facilitates learning and collaboration among researchers and other key stakeholders who are generating the data, methods, and the knowledge needed to build learning health systems that will improve patient care and outcomes.
The purpose of AHRQ's Ambulatory Safety and Quality (ASQ) program was to improve the safety and quality of ambulatory health care in the United States. The program included four health information technology (IT) focused ASQ initiatives. At the conclusion of each ASQ grant initiative, AHRQ developed reports that summarized the projects and identified practical insights regarding the use of health IT to improve safety and quality in ambulatory settings.
From September 2007 to May 2012, AHRQ funded a technical assistance program to support Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) agencies in developing, implementing, and participating in health IT and health information exchange (HIE). The technical assistance program developed and provided a wide range of resources and tools so that these agencies could improve care delivery and coordination, including proactive care management, using health IT.
In 2005, the Department of Health and Human Services awarded nearly $6 million to five grantee teams as part of a pilot project to test initial standards for electronic prescribing (e-prescribing). The project, which ran during calendar year 2006, involved testing several systems of electronic data transmission standards and determining how efficiently and effectively prescriptions and prescription-related information could be sent to and received by the providers and pharmacies participating in e-prescribing for Medicare Part D beneficiaries. The project was administered jointly by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and AHRQ.
RTI International subcontracted with 33 states and one territory to create the Health Information Security and Privacy Collaboration (HISPC). The subcontractors leveraged input from state leadership and a broad range of stakeholders working on health information exchange to assess variation in organizational privacy and security practices as well as policies; and where applicable, assessed the legal basis for those practices and policies.
Six states were awarded 5-year contracts under AHRQ’s State and Regional Demonstrations in Health Information Technology funding opportunity: Colorado, Indiana, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, and Delaware. Funding allowed the states to identify and support data-sharing and interoperability activities aimed at improving health care for patients and populations at the state and regional levels.
In 2004 and 2005 AHRQ funded the Transforming Healthcare Quality through Information Technology (THQIT) initiative awarding 118 grants. The initiative supported different aspects of organizational and community-wide health IT planning and implementation-related activities, elucidated various stakeholders’ perspectives, and demonstrated the value of health IT implementation and use, particularly in rural hospitals and community-based health care settings.