Friends of AHRQ Holds Annual Meeting with Director Clancy

AHRQ Director Dr. Carolyn Clancy provided a programmatic overview of AHRQ’s funding priorities.
On February 23rd, AcademyHealth hosted the annual meeting of the Friends of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).  Owing in large part to the new emphasis on Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER), AHRQ is one of the few agencies that received a dramatic increase (54%) in the administration’s Fiscal Year 2011 request to $610.9 million. AHRQ Director Dr. Carolyn Clancy provided a programmatic overview of AHRQ’s funding priorities, which included AHRQ’s role in spending its share of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds as well as its management of $400 million in CER funding allocated to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. On the behavioral science front, Dr. Clancy highlighted a specific example “Optimizing the Impact of Comparative Effectiveness Research Findings through Behavioral Economic RCT Experiments” and noted that AHRQ’s initiative to understand hospital-acquired infections is “much more social science than clinical science”.  Additional programs that emphasize behavioral science include the use of health information technology and its application to ambulatory safety, medication management, improved decision-making, patient-centered care, and health information exchange. But Dr. Clancy noted changes in the new budget that raised concerns for APA, including diminished funding for investigator-initiated research and the elimination of the HIV Research Network.