The Agency for Healthcare Research Quality (AHRQ) has announced its intention to publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for grant applications to stimulate innovative and collaborative research by utilizing new health information technology (IT) strategies for collecting and using patient-reported outcome (PRO) measures in primary care and other ambulatory care settings. The planned FOA is expected to be published in 2017.
PROs offer an essential perspective that complements clinician assessments, and may provide greater insights into health status, function, symptom burden, adherence, health behaviors, and quality of life. Although health IT has been shown to be an enabler of the use of PROs in certain healthcare settings with certain populations and disease types, PRO data are not commonly collected and integrated at the point of care. Electronic health record systems in use today often do not collect and present PRO data in ways that can afford truly meaningful use for broad and comprehensive clinical or health outcomes measurement and improvement. AHRQ is planning to solicit applications for projects that develop new health IT strategies for implementing existing PRO measures in ambulatory care environments, including projects that support the care of people with multiple chronic conditions. All projects must include an implementation and evaluation plan for the health IT strategy, rationale for the PRO measures selected, and how the selected PRO measures can lead to desired outcomes (e.g., patient health outcomes, quality of care).