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Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request

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Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, HHS.




This notice announces the intention of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to request that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approve the proposed information collection project: “Voluntary Customer Survey Generic Clearance for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.” In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501-3520, AHRQ invites the public to comment on this proposed information collection.


Comments on this notice must be received by March 28, 2011.


Written comments should be submitted to: Doris Lefkowitz, Reports Clearance Officer, AHRQ, by e-mail at

Copies of the proposed collection plans, data collection instruments, and specific details on the estimated burden can be obtained from the AHRQ Reports Clearance Officer.

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Doris Lefkowitz, AHRQ Reports Clearance Officer, (301) 427-1477, or by e-mail at

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Proposed Project

Voluntary Customer Survey Generic Clearance for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Executive Order 12862 directs agencies that “provide significant services directly to the public” to “survey customers to determine the kind and quality of services they want and their level of satisfaction with existing services.” This is a request for the Office of Start Printed Page 4355Management and Budget (OMB) to re-approve for an additional 3 years, under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the generic clearance for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to survey the users of AHRQ's work products and services, OMB control number 0935-0106.

Customer surveys will be undertaken by AHRQ to assess its work products and services provided to its customers, to identify problem areas, and to determine how they can be improved. Surveys conducted under this generic clearance are not required by regulation and will not be used by AHRQ to regulate or sanction its customers. Surveys will be entirely voluntary, and information provided by respondents will be combined and summarized so that no individually identifiable information will be released. Proposed information collections submitted under this generic clearance will be reviewed and acted upon by OMB within 14 days of submission to OMB.

In accordance with OMB guidelines for generic clearances for voluntary customer surveys and Executive Order 12862, AHRQ: (1) Has established an independent review process to assure the development, implementation, and analysis of high quality customer surveys within AHRQ; (2) will provide periodic progress reports on the conduct of surveys under the generic approval, summarizing the actual burden; (3) will provide OMB with copies of the survey instruments for inclusion in the docket; and, (4) will notify OMB of any significant changes in proposed survey instruments.

Method of Collection

The information collected through focus groups and voluntary customer surveys will be used by AHRQ to identify strengths and weaknesses in products and services to make improvements that are practical and feasible. Information from these customer surveys will be used to plan and redirect resources and efforts to improve or maintain a high quality of service to the lay and health professional public.

Estimated Annual Respondent Burden

Exhibit 1 shows the estimated total burden hours for the respondents. Mail surveys are estimated to average 15 minutes, telephone surveys 40 minutes, web-based surveys 10 minutes, focus groups two hours, and in-person interviews are estimated to average 50 minutes. Mail surveys may also be sent to respondents via email, and may include a telephone non-response follow-up.

Telephone non-response follow-up for mailed surveys does not count as a telephone survey. The total burden hours for the 3 years of the clearance is estimated to be 10,150 hours.

Exhibit 2 shows the estimated cost burden for the respondents. The total cost burden for the 3 years of the clearance is estimated to be $340,127.

Exhibit 1—Estimated Burden Hours Over 3 Years

Type of information collectionNumber of respondentsNumber of responses per respondentHours per responseTotal burden hours
Focus Groups1,50012.03,000
* May include telephone non-response follow-up in which case the burden will not change.

Exhibit 2—Estimated Cost Burden Over 3 Years

Type of information collectionNumber of respondentsTotal burden hoursAverage hourly wage rate*Total cost burden
Focus Groups1,5003,00033.51100,530
* Based upon the average wages for 29-000 (Healthcare Practitioner and Technical Occupations), “National Compensation Survey: Occupational Wages in the United States, May 2009,” U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Estimated Annual Costs to the Federal Government

Information collections conducted under this generic clearance will in some cases be carried out under contract. Assuming the contract cost per survey are $50,000-$100,000, and for each focus group are $20,000, total contract costs could run $ 720,000 per year.

Request for Comments

In accordance with the above-cited Paperwork Reduction Act legislation, comments on AHRQ's information collection are requested with regard to any of the following: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of AHRQ healthcare research and healthcare information dissemination functions, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of AHRQ's estimate of burden (including hours and costs) of the proposed collection(s) of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information upon the respondents, including the use of Start Printed Page 4356automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and included in the Agency's subsequent request for OMB approval of the proposed information collection. All comments will become a matter of public record.

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Dated: January 3, 2011.

Carolyn M. Clancy,


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[FR Doc. 2011-1173 Filed 1-24-11; 8:45 am]