Research Tools, Data, and Funding
AHRQ supports the research community by creating tools to ensure inclusion of populations with limited literacy in research and study health literacy disparities. AHRQ also promotes health literacy research with data and funding opportunities.
Tools and Data for Researchers
Informed Consent and Authorization Toolkit for Minimal Risk Research
The Informed Consent and Authorization Toolkit for Minimal Risk Research toolkit helps both researchers and institutional review boards ensure that potential subjects can make well-informed decisions about participating in research studies. The Toolkit includes model process for obtaining written consent and authorization, sample easy-to-read consent documents for informed consent and authorization, and a certification tool to promote the quality of the consent process.
Health Literacy Measurement Tools
AHRQ-funded researchers have developed four research tools to measure an aspect of health literacy—individuals' reading comprehension in a medical context—to detect health literacy disparities and examine interventions' effects on populations with limited health literacy.
AHRQ's Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) collects data on health literate practices by providers as reported in MEPS' household component's Self-Administered Questionnaire (SAQ), which has been collected annually since 2011. Researchers can conduct analyses of the data by downloading the MEPS Full Year Consolidated Files from the MEPS Download Data page. Health literacy measures include:
- how often health professionals explained things in a way that was easy to understand
- how often health providers asked adults to describe how they were going to follow instructions
- how often help was offered in filling out a form at a health provider’s office
Health literacy researchers may submit grant applications through AHRQ's funding opportunity announcements. Researchers may respond to targeted program announcements (e.g., Developing Measures of Shared Decision Making, Medication Safety: Advancing the Development of Improvement Strategies and Tools, and Improving Quality of Care and Patient Outcomes During Care Transitions), as well as broader program announcements (e.g., AHRQ Small Research Grant Program (R03), AHRQ Health Services Research Projects (R01), AHRQ Health Services Research Demonstration and Dissemination Grants (R18), AHRQ Mentored Research Scientist Career Development Award (K01)).
AHRQ has issued a Special Emphasis Notice (SEN) to announce interest in research on improving organizational health literacy to prevent and manage chronic disease. The SEN highlights AHRQ's interest in receiving applications focusing on primary and other ambulatory care settings that:
- test approaches to integrating organizational health literacy strategies that make it easier for people, especially those with limited health literacy, to take action to prevent and manage their chronic conditions, including diabetes, and
- spread and scale previously tested organizational health literacy strategies to settings that serve a high proportion of patients with limited health literacy, and/or socioeconomically disadvantaged people.
Applicants interested in responding to the health literacy SEN should use AHRQ's R01, R03, R18, and K01 standing program announcements. Applications need to be responsive to the program announcement as well as the health literacy SEN.