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VOLUME 44 | NUMBER 2.2 | APRIL 2009

Evaluation of the AHRQ Patient Safety Initiative: Framework and Approach

Objective. Describe the evaluation performed of the patient safety initiative operated by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

AHRQ Patient Safety Initiative. When patient safety became a national priority in 2000, Congress charged and funded AHRQ to improve health care safety. Over the next 6 years, AHRQ funded more than 300 research projects and other activities, addressing diverse patient safety issues and practices.

The Patient Safety Evaluation. AHRQ contracted with RAND in 2002 to perform a 4-year evaluation of the initiative, which was completed in 2006. This formative evaluation used the CIPP program evaluation model, which emphasizes multiple stakeholders' interests (e.g., patients, providers, funded researchers). We monitored the progress of the patient safety initiative and provided AHRQ annual feedback that assessed each year's activities, identifying issues and offering suggestions for actions by AHRQ. Given the size and complexity of the initiative, the evaluation needed to examine key individual components and synthesize results across them, and it also had to be responsive to changes in the initiative over time. We used a conceptual framework to bring together the disparate pieces to synthesize overall findings. The remaining articles in this issue describe selected results from this evaluation.

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