HHS Announces $50 Million in Medical Errors Research Grants
In the federal government's "largest single investment" to date in addressing medical errors and patient safety, HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson on Thursday announced some $50 million in grants for research on the issue. The research initiative, funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, is the "first phase" of a multi-year effort. The awards fall into one of six categories:
- Supporting demonstration projects to report medical errors data: Awarded $24.7 million for 24 projects to study data collection methods on errors, or using existing data to identify "factors" that put patients at risk.
- Using computers and information technology to prevent medical errors: Awarded $5.3 million for 22 projects to "develop and test" computers and information technology to reduce patient errors, improve patient safety and "improve quality of care."
- Developing innovative approaches to improving patient safety: Awarded $8 million for 23 project to examine "innovative approaches" to patient safety at "geographically diverse" health care facilities.
- Understanding the impact of working conditions on patient safety: Awarded $3 million for 8 projects that will examine how staffing levels, stress, fatigue, sleep deprivation and other issues can "lead to errors," which has yet to be studied in the field of health care.
- Disseminating research results: Awarded $2.4 million for seven projects to assist in the education of health care providers about patient safety research through curricula development, continuing education courses and simulation models.
- Other: Awarded $6.4 million in grants for 10 other patient safety research projects, including funding for meetings of state and local officials to "advance local patient safety initiatives" and to determine the "feasibility of implementing a patient safety improvement corps" (HHS release, 10/11).