HHS Awards 26 Research Grants to Explore the Healthcare System’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Press Release Date: January 12, 2021
Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), announced 26 research grants designed to explore essential questions about the delivery of healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Research projects will focus on areas such as the increased use of telehealth, best practices in rural care settings, emergency management in hospitals, addressing critical barriers to effective pandemic response in hospitals that care for vulnerable populations, and improving clinician and patient safety. The grants are also intended to leverage innovations in digital healthcare research and ways healthcare delivery has been reshaped by the pandemic.
"An effective response to an unprecedented challenge like COVID-19 requires learning, as quickly as possible, what works and what doesn’t," said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. "AHRQ’s new funding will support research on the response in several areas of our nation’s healthcare system, such as telehealth, and help us identify where we can improve our regulations and policies to build a more resilient, adaptable healthcare system."
The funding has been awarded in two categories. Approximately $500,000 will be awarded for each of the 14 new projects to study the healthcare system’s COVID-19 response in four areas; improving the quality of care and patient outcomes; improving patient safety; understanding the pandemic’s impact on socially vulnerable populations and people with multiple chronic conditions; and understanding how digital health innovations such as telehealth contributed to the health system response to COVID-19.
In addition, supplemental funding ranging from $27,000 to $2.3 million will be awarded to 12 ongoing research projects that will be refocused on COVID-19 topics. AHRQ’s total research investment is up to $17 million.
The research will be conducted in numerous healthcare environments, including hospitals, primary care and other ambulatory care settings, pre-hospital care, long-term and nursing home care, home health care, safety net hospitals, mental health and substance use care, pharmacy, and transitions of care between settings.
"We have the opportunity to learn from innovations and challenges of the healthcare delivery system in order to accelerate recovery and prepare for future pandemics,” said Acting AHRQ Director Dr. David Meyers. “These grants will provide evidence and tools critical to creating a safer, more resilient, more accessible, more equitable 21st century healthcare system."
To provide further assistance in this effort, AHRQ established a strike team of Agency experts—researchers, medical professionals, and data scientists—to address the major short- and long-term needs among policymakers and healthcare delivery systems related to risk mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery efforts.
A list of the grants can be found on AHRQ’s grants website, together with information on the Agency’s other activities as part of the whole-of-government response to the COVID-19 pandemic.