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RECOVERY-Horizon Scanning System

This opportunity is a Recovery and Reinvestment Act action
Solicitation Number: AHRQ-10-10003
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Office: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Location: Contracts Management
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Added: Feb 01, 2010 9:41 am
RECOVERY - Horizon Scanning System

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is soliciting proposals on a full and open competitive basis for a contract to establish a Horizon Scanning System, to be funded with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds. This is a new requirement and there is no incumbent.

The solicitation and any documents relating to this requirement will only be available by downloading from the Internet through or through the AHRQ website at Interested offerors are responsible for monitoring these sites for the release of the solicitation and any subsequent amendments. It is anticipated that the solicitation will be available for downloading on or about 15 days after publication of this synopsis.

ARRA appropriated $1.1 billion for comparative effectiveness research (CER), of which $300 million is allocated to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The goal of CER is to improve health outcomes and the quality of care by providing evidence to inform and enhance medical decisions made by patients and their medical providers. AHRQ is using ARRA funds to expand and broaden current CER activities and to support new initiatives in CER. This solicitation presents AHRQ’s effort to implement its own horizon scanning system in order to identify new and emerging issues for comparative effectiveness investments through the Effective Health Care (EHC) Program. Horizon scanning involves: 1) the identification and monitoring of new and evolving healthcare interventions that are purported to or may hold potential to diagnose, treat or otherwise manage a particular condition; and 2) an analysis of the relevant healthcare context and landscape in which these new and evolving interventions exist in order to understand their potential impact on clinical care, the healthcare system, patient outcomes, and costs. This project will provide AHRQ with a systematic process to identify and monitor healthcare technologies that are likely to have a high clinical, system and cost impact in the US. The AHRQ Healthcare Horizon Scanning System shall be informed by existing methods but incorporate novel and innovative approaches.

The purpose of this project is to meet an immediate need at AHRQ to establish a horizon scanning system. Through this procurement, AHRQ seeks to quickly and efficiently implement a horizon framework and infrastructure to immediately generate information that will inform comparative effectiveness research investments through the Effective Health Care (EHC) Program. It is expected that a majority of the effort necessary to accomplish the required tasks below will be dedicated to the implementation of a horizon scanning system and to the actual conduct of horizon scanning.

The performance requirements of this solicitation are as follows:

• Refine and implement a protocol to identify and monitor new healthcare technologies.

• Refine and implement a methodology to forecast the future clinical, system, and cost impact of identified technologies.

• Report on findings from horizon scanning activities (through scheduled, periodic status updates and topical reports requested by AHRQ).

• Review methods of horizon scanning used by public and private organizations in the US and internationally.

• Develop a plan to evaluate the implemented horizon scanning protocol and methodology.

Methods proposed by the Offeror to accomplish the above tasks shall be based on a justified scientific rationale, and the Offeror shall demonstrate an understanding of horizon scanning methods. The Offeror shall also demonstrate familiarity with and understanding of its proposed healthcare horizon scanning methods, and personnel shall have experience relevant to implementing proposed methods. Additionally, Offerors shall demonstrate the capacity to implement their proposed technical approach to the above performance requirements from a management perspective. Consideration will be given to the Offeror’s demonstrated ability to quickly and efficiently implement its proposed methods as well as the Offeror’s ability to provide substantive status updates and in-depth reports on its horizon scanning activities. Offerors shall demonstrate the ability to implement horizon scanning protocol and methods as well as produce written reports that are scientifically and methodologically rigorous. Offerors shall also demonstrate the capacity to conduct horizon scanning over the two-year performance period of contract and quickly respond to requests for additional reports at the request of AHRQ.

The Project Team shall consist of a Project Manager, Project Director, and other key staff, which can include subcontractors and/or consultants.

The Project Director shall have, at minimum, a doctoral or medical degree and have demonstrated knowledge of healthcare technology innovation and diffusion in the context of the US healthcare system and experience overseeing projects involving the development and assessment of relational data. Additionally, the Project Director shall not have less than ten (10) years of total work experience which includes: 1) demonstrated skills in organizing and monitoring complex projects conducted by groups of diverse professionals; 2) knowledge of payer (including Medicare) policies; and 3) knowledge of FDA regulatory requirements for drugs, devices and biologics.

The Project Manager shall have training and experience in health services research, development and implementation of quality improvement strategies and personnel/project management. In addition, the Project Manager must have experience in working with diverse groups such as innovators, healthcare providers and purchasers, clinical and health service researchers, and healthcare policymakers. The Project Manager shall have, at a minimum, a Master’s degree in a health and human services-related specialty and at least ten (10) years total work experience which includes: 1) at least eight (8) years in a health-related field; and 2) demonstrated skills in organizing and monitoring complex projects conducted by groups of diverse professionals.

Other key staff shall also have demonstrated experience in developing and analyzing relational data; working with issues related to healthcare technology innovation and diffusion in the US; payer (including Medicare) policies; and FDA regulatory policies.

AHRQ anticipates awarding one firm, fixed-priced contract under this solicitation for a period of 2 years and 3 option years. Proposals will be evaluated inclusive of the options. The Government is under no obligation to exercise the options either at award or at a later date.

Any questions concerning this announcement must be sent in writing by e-mail to Sharon Williams at

540 Gaither Road
Rockville, Maryland 20850
Sharon L. Williams,
Contracting Officer
Phone: 301-427-1781