The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced on May 14 that it would be awarding $5 million for research into the responsiveness of the health care delivery systems, health care professionals, and the overall U.S. health care system in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the funding will invest in new multi-method, rapid-cycle research with the ability to turn around initial observations within six months of receiving the award, and then regularly throughout the remainder of the duration of the funding.
“This funding will help us understand, as rapidly as we can, the ways in which our health systems were successful or challenged during the response to the COVID-19 virus,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar said. “Learning from the COVID-19 pandemic as soon as we can is essential to maintaining an effective response and preventing future outbreaks. We are especially interested in understanding how our health systems met the needs of the most vulnerable individuals, how patient safety was protected and maintained, and how providers made use of President Trump’s huge expansion of telehealth and other digital health tools.”
AHRQ said it will fund research into the effects COVID-19 had on the quality, safety and value of the health care systems response, the role primary care physicians and their practices had during the pandemic, how the response to COVID-19 impacted socially vulnerable population and people with multiple chronic conditions and how the integration of digital health affected the response to COVID-19 and other health care issues.
“The healthcare system is under tremendous stress trying to respond rapidly to the pandemic and is innovating across many aspects of health care delivery,” said AHRQ Director Gopal Khanna, M.B.A. “AHRQ’s investment responds to the urgent need to understand what adjustments were and continue to be made by healthcare professionals and individual healthcare systems, and to evaluate the effectiveness of those adjustments, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The deadline for applications for the funding opportunity is June 15.